Test for Rovers after two defeats

A mixed week for Raith boss Grant Murray saw him pick up the SPFL Championship manager of the month award for October, before losing to Alloa. Photo: Walter Neilson
A mixed week for Raith boss Grant Murray saw him pick up the SPFL Championship manager of the month award for October, before losing to Alloa. Photo: Walter Neilson
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Raith Rovers are facing a test of character this weekend after the team suffered its first back-to-back league defeats since February.

After an impressive start to the season that included an 11-game unbeaten run, Rovers have stuttered over the past fortnight with consecutive defeats in Dundee and Alloa.

But manager Grant Murray is looking for a positive response from his men this Saturday when Queen of the South visit Stark’s Park.

“We’re obviously disappointed first and foremost from Saturday,” Murray said.

“But the players have got to move on and understand how to accept defeat. It is something we’ve not had to deal with this season but that’s credit to the players.

“Saturday was probably the first time that we’ve played below par for quite a chunk of the game. We had the majority of the team not performing to the capabilities that they have done in the previous games.

“It’s a wee test for us now, back at home, and what’s happened lets us know that we’ve got to be on the ball.

“Saturday will be a tough game but it’s important that we get back on track with three points.”

Recent results have dropped Rovers to third in the table, while fifth-placed Falkirk now lie only three points behind.

“That’s why I don’t get drawn into this looking too far ahead,” Murray said.

“People keep asking the question: ‘do you think you’ll be here, do you think you’ll be there?’ but that could come back to haunt you.

“We’re a team that has to concentrate on one game at a time.”

Rovers welcome Callum Booth back into the squad after suspension but Murray hinted that there could be more changes.

“Callum will definitely come back into my thoughts for this weekend - but so will everyone,” Murray said.

“After a defeat you always think of every player that’s in your squad and how you can go about the following week.”

Rovers have meanwhile sent 19-year-old full back Reece Donaldson on loan to Peterhead until January.

The versatile youngster made his first start for the League Two club on Saturday, and collected the man of the match award in the 1-1 draw with East Stirling.

Murray insists the defender still has a future at Stark’s Park.

“Reece has got a lot of first team experience in the time I’ve been at the club,” Murray said.

“He’s missed out this season quite a bit, he’s come in here and there, and I think it is important for him at the position he’s at in his career to go out on loan, get good competitive games, and get him back playing.

“He’ll be under a bit of pressure as well in proper games.

“Reserve games are great for players to top up fitness here and there but sometimes a player of Reece’s calibre doesn’t get tested enough in some of the reserve games.

“The way reserve teams are now, they are very young and we felt to get him games he had to go out on loan. And he’ll come back a better player for that.

“He’s only played one game and got man of the match already, so it’ll get him back in the swing of things and then he’ll come back to us looking to improve and get back in the team.

“That’s one of the reasons we put him up there, because we know he’s capable of playing first team football. It’s just been difficult for him, the way the season has went so far, for him to get in.”

While ticket allocation or prices have not yet announced for next April’s Ramsdens Cup final, Raith are taking measures to ensure that regular fans, who are not season ticket holders, won’t miss out.

The club is to launch a voucher system at the next three home league matches - Queen of the South (this Saturday), Dumbarton (December 14) and Cowdenbeath (December 21).

Fans should collect two out of three vouchers, and retain them until priority ticket sales details are announced.