Rovers’ giant leap towards safety

RAITH Rovers took a giant leap towards first division safety by winning in Falkirk for the first time in 14 years on Saturday.

However, victory came at a cost as defender Laurie Ellis was taken to hospital after suffering a broken jaw in a collision with Falkirk striker Farid El Alagui.

3311062 SSFF raith headshots 'Brian Graham - Raith Rovers individual head shots - at Starks Park, Kirkcaldy

3311062 SSFF raith headshots 'Brian Graham - Raith Rovers individual head shots - at Starks Park, Kirkcaldy

Prior to the match, Rovers last win in Falkirk was back in 1998, when an Andy Walker penalty secured at 1-0 win at the old Brockville.

Saturday’s hero was in-form Brian Graham, who hit his first ever hat-trick as Rovers edged an exciting, if rather nervous, five-goal thriller.

Graham revealed afterwards that he had his eyes on claiming the match ball before kick-off.

“I told the referee before the game that I’d be taking the ball home with me, but he just started laughing at me,” he said. “When the third goal went in I went over to him and said ‘told you so!’. I let the fans down when I got sent off against Ayr, so that was for them.”

With results elsewhere also going in their favour, the victory Rovers edged three points clear of Ayr United in the relegation play-off position, and six clear of bottom of the table Queen of the South, with just two games left.

In golf, Kirkcaldy’s Peter Whiteford ended his miserable run on the European Tour since being disqualified at an event in India to finish as the leading Scot at the Volvo China Open.

It was only the third time this season that Whiteford has made the cut, and his first since the unfortunate exit from the Avantha Masters in February, but a brilliant closing round of 66 helped the Fifer claim a top 20 finish.

And in cricket, local side Glenrothes have completed a major coup with the signing of former Scotland captain Ryan Watson.

The Zimbabwe-born all-rounder, who made 194 appearances for his adopted country, announced his retirement last autumn to focus on business interests, but he has agreed to turn out for the Fife side in the East of Scotland Division One this season.

For more on these stories pick up a copy of this week’s Fife Free Press, out on Thursday.