Rovers in no mood for cup romance at Linlithgow

Raith goalkeeper David McGurn punches clear during his return to action on Saturday. Pic: Steve Gunn
Raith goalkeeper David McGurn punches clear during his return to action on Saturday. Pic: Steve Gunn

Raith Rovers manager Grant Murray is not expecting an easy passage into the fourth round of the Scottish Cup this Saturday.

Rovers are strong favourites to progress after drawing junior side Linlithgow Rose but Murray insists that the trip to Prestonfield will be no walk-over.

The match is one of the biggest in the home club’s history and Murray stressed that Rovers will need to be on their guard.

“When people talk about the romance of the cup it’s ties like this that bring that tag,” Murray told the Press.

“For us, we’ve been drawn away from home against a very good junior side.

“They are well positioned in their league and have a lot of experienced players who have played senior football, so we’ve got to respect them like we do every club.

“We’ve watched them on numerous occasions but we’ve got to go there with the belief that we can take this club into the next round.”

Linlithgow are one of the biggest and best supported clubs in the East Region set-up, and have won the Scottish Junior Cup four times, most recently in 2010.

They currently sit third in the Superleague and have a squad made up mostly of former pros including ex-East Fife pair Gary Thom and John Ovenstone, while striker Tommy Coyne was once on the books of Kilmarnock.

The Rose have only faced senior opposition once before in the Scottish Cup, in 2008, when they lost 4-0 away to Queen of the South.

However, with home advantage this time, Rose manager Danny Smith will fancy his team’s chances of causing a huge upset.

For Raith boss Murray, avoiding any embarrassment is important to prevent further backlash from fans after the loud booing that accompanied the full-time whistle at the end of the 1-1 draw at home to Alloa on Saturday.

“That’s the nature of football,” Murray said. “We’re at home against a team at the bottom end of the table and fans expect you to win, I understand that.

“We were disappointed with the outcome. We had a lot of the ball but didn’t create as much as we would’ve wanted to.

“We knew it would be a difficult game. Alloa are saying they are playing better football than they’ve ever played.

“They beat Hibs, were unfortunate against Hearts and drew with Rangers - there’s something in that team.

“But our fans showed their frustration at the end of the game, and it’s up to us to get back to winning ways - it’s as simple as that

“We’ve got to have the right mentality, first and foremost, going there. There’s no point in us thinking it will be the easiest game we’re ever going to play - because it won’t.

“It’s the massive game for the Linlithgow players and they will be wanting to go out and do well. They’ll make it difficult for us and give it their best shot. We’ve got to adapt to that.”

Linlithgow’s Prestonfield grounds holds 3500 and with supporters able to pay at the gate on Saturday, it is anticipated that the turn-out could get close to 2500.

The match is scheduled for a 2.00 p.m kick-off, and Rose officials have urged fans to turn up early as there will be no delay in the event of queues at the turnstiles.

Striker Calum Elliot returned to training this week and will be given a chance to prove his fitness ahead of Saturday. Christian Nade, Craig Barr and Kevin Cuthbert remain sidelined, while Kevin Moon picked up a slight calf strain against Alloa and is a doubt. Laurie Ellis is back to full fitness after missing the Alloa match.