Split-second gamble pays off for Raith striker

Mark Stewart celebrates with Grant Anderson after playing a part in Raith's 93rd minute equaliser against Falkirk on Saturday. Pic: Steve Gunn
Mark Stewart celebrates with Grant Anderson after playing a part in Raith's 93rd minute equaliser against Falkirk on Saturday. Pic: Steve Gunn
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Raith Rovers striker Mark Stewart revealed that his split-second gamble led to Saturday’s last minute equaliser against Falkirk.

After Grant Anderson’s pass took a nick off a defender, Stewart could have allowed the ball to cross the touchline for a 93rd minute corner kick, but rather than wait for the cavalry charge, the striker took a chance, sending the ball into the box, and the rest is history as Ross Callachan fired home the last gasp leveller.

“I was going to let it go for a corner, but I’ve taken a wee look up and seen we’ve got boys in the box, so I thought I’d just take a chance,” Stewart told the Press.

“There’s more chance of that catching them off guard than a corner.

“I’m relieved though because Paul Watson said that if we didn’t score, he was going to cane me for not letting it go!

“We nicked a point in the end but we just don’t know when to stop at the moment.

“That’s seven unbeaten now, which is really good in this league, and it’s the sign of a good team when you can play badly and pick up points.”

Stewart has scored only once in his last 16 appearances so he was pleased to play a role in the equaliser.

“It’s nice to set up a goal when you’re not scoring,” he said. “I want to score but if the team’s doing well and you’re part of that, then that’s all that matters.

“I’m going through a dry patch but I’m not worried about it.

“The big thing for me is being on the training pitch every day and not missing games.

“Since I’ve been back in the team over the last few months we’ve been doing really well, and I’d like to think I’ve contributed to that.”

Stewart returned to the starting line-up after being benched for the cup game at Ibrox, losing his place to on-loan Dale Carrick, who has since returned to Hearts after picking up a hamstring injury.

“I got asked to do a job at Hibs and it wasn’t the best game I’ve ever played, but Dale came on and made an impact so the gaffer had a word with me and said that Dale was going to start at Ibrox,” he said.

“When you get dropped you can’t be disappointed about it for too long.

“You instantly change your focus to how you can make an impact from the bench.

“I’d like to think that last week when I came on I played well and had an impact on the game, and unfortunately Dale got injured, so I got my place back.”

Stewart reckons Rovers are capable of beating Rangers for the second time in a fortnight in Friday’s night live BT Sport clash at Stark’s Park.

“I don’t see why not,” he said.

“They are hurting just now after three defeats on the bounce and will come out all guns blazing, so it will be difficult.

“But if we play like we did at Ibrox we can beat them again.”