Raith start manager hunt - but one name rules himself out

Gary Locke was sacked after the Morton game. Credit- Fife Photo Agency
Gary Locke was sacked after the Morton game. Credit- Fife Photo Agency

Raith Rovers have started the search for a new manager after the departure of Gary Locke.

The 41-year-old, along with his assistant Darren Jackson, parted company with the club after just seven months in charge following the 1-0 defeat to Morton at Stark’s Park on Tuesday night.

The announcement was made shortly after full-time following a run of six straight league defeats, and 14 matches without a victory stretching back to the end of October.

The Press understands that Locke was summoned to a board meeting ahead of the match where he was warned that results had to improve immediately.

Raith chairman Alan Young explained: “It was a very difficult decision to take because both Gary and Darren are nice guys, but when you haven’t won since the end of October it was one we had to make.

“It was certainly with regret – there’s no doubt about that – but for the overall benefit of the club we needed a change.

“We’ve been in conversation with Gary over the last couple of weeks or so, and it becomes difficult when you haven’t won for three months.”

Mr Young was unable to confirm whether the outgoing management team had received severance packages from the club, simply adding: “We’re in conversation.”

Head of youth development Craig Easton has stepped into a caretaker role on a short-term basis and will take training for the first time today (Thursday).

However, the 37-year-old has informed the board that he does not want the job permanently.

“Craig is helping to keep things ticking over, but he has indicated that he doesn’t wish to be a candidate,” Mr Young revealed.

“His role is very important for the future of the club, and he wouldn’t want to impinge on that side of things.”

The appointment of Locke in the summer was met with some raised eyebrows after a failed stint as boss of Kilmarnock, but Mr Young defended the board’s decision.

“I wouldn’t say it’s coming back to haunt us,” he said. “You make a decision and, at the time, you feel confident it’s the right one.

“The board as a whole were fully behind the appointment.

“Initially it went very well, but obviously things have changed and after three months without a win, it was time to make a change.”

Applications are already flooding in, and the Raith board are due to meet later this week to consider their options, but with the club just one place and four points from relegation trouble, the first task for the new boss will be to steady the ship before climbing the table.

The chairman added: “Bear with us, we’re looking at all options and we’ll do everything we possibly can to get this one right.”