Raith claim “no evil intent” in appeal against captain’s dismissal

Jason Thomson protests his innocence as he is sent packing by referee Greg Aitken. Pic: Alan Murray
Jason Thomson protests his innocence as he is sent packing by referee Greg Aitken. Pic: Alan Murray
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Raith Rovers are hoping to have skipper Jason Thomson available for the visit of Alloa this Saturday after confirming they will appeal against the defender’s midweek sending off.

Thomson was shown a straight red card by referee Greg Aitken in the 90th minute of the 2-0 defeat to Stenhousemuir in the Petrofac Training Cup tie at Ochilview on Tuesday night following a tackle on the home side’s Alan Cook.

The club captain could be banned for up to three matches for what the referee deemed to be violent conduct, however, Raith are hopeful the suspension will be quashed after Stenhousemuir players offered to back Thomson’s case.

Alan Young, the Raith chairman, confirmed: “We are submitting an appeal, mainly due to the fact that the Stenhousemuir players have indicated that the incident was entirely accidental.

“While the player was kicked, it was because he moved the ball away, and Jason was going for the ball. There was no evil intent as far as we’re concerned. Jason is not that type of player.”

Raith’s appeal was expected to be formally lodged with the SFA today (Thursday) which would see Thomson’s ban put on hold until a hearing next Thursday, freeing the skipper up to face Alloa on Saturday, and Hamilton on Tuesday.

Thomson’s dismissal was the team’s second red card in four days after Kyle Benedictus received his marching orders for picking up two bookings in last Saturday’s defeat at Falkirk. Benedictus will serve a one match ban and misses the Alloa match on Saturday.

Raith manager Ray McKinnon put Tuesday night’s disappointing Challenge Cup defeat down as a learning experience.

McKinnon left five first team regulars on the bench as Raith slumped to a 2-0 defeat.

“It was a good learning experience for me with my players,” he said. “I’ve told them that to get into my team you need a certain standard, and a certain mentality.

“If we score first we probably win that game, but fair play to Stenhousemuir, they scored a really good goal, and it was disappointing for us that we couldn’t do much after that.

“It tells me a lot about my players and where they are in terms of fitness and playing in my first team. But they’ve been excellent up until now, and I’ve made a lot of changes, so we’ll move on from this.”

McKinnon defended his decision to make sweeping changes during a run of five games in 14 days.

“We’ve got a big run of tough games coming up so it was an opportunity for the squad players to come in and get time on the park,” he said.

“Whether they’ve gelled or not, or maybe they just weren’t up to speed in terms of fitness, but if we took our chances early on then it’s a different game.

“It’s good that they’ve got the 90 minutes out of it so that’s one positive.

“I made five changes and it’s maybe disrupted the team from Saturday but we can’t go through the whole season playing the same 11.

“Fair play to Stenhousemuir, they battled hard and they’ve got their victory.

“I’ve been very pleased with the league performances, so it’s just a wee blip.”

McKinnon confirmed that he is continuing to hunt for a new striker to fill the void left by the injury to Lewis Vaughan, adding: “We’re looking at the moment.

“It’s difficult because everyone is looking for strikers, but we’ll see what’s out there.”