LAURIE Ellis insists that the Raith Rovers players have a responsibility to keep the club where it belongs ... in the First Division.
The long-serving defender has clocked up enough games in a Raith shirt over three separate spells to know that relegation to the Second Division is not an option.
A 1-0 defeat to Queen of the South on Saturday dragged the Kirkcaldy club deeper into the relegation mire, with just two points now separating them from bottom place with nine games remaining.
And ahead of the visit of fellow relegation battlers Ayr United this Saturday, Ellis insists that the players must stand up and deliver.
“This is a big club and the responsibility lies with the players and the manager to make sure the club remains in the First Division,” he said.
“Everyone knows we need to secure points over next few games and we’re definitely positive in our approach to that.
“We know we can do it, but in football you’ve got to do it during the 90 minutes.
“You can talk all you want, but within those 90 minutes on a Saturday is the only time you can make changes to your league position.”
Rovers could have climbed as high as seventh-place with a third straight win in Dumfries, but the defeat has put added pressure on Saturday’s match against Ayr, who remain just two points ahead of the Fifers after their midweek match in Dundee was postponed.
“Bring it on,” Ellis stated. “We want to play the teams around us because that’s the best chance of getting a couple of points difference.
“We want to have a positive approach to these last nine games, and not fear them.
“If nerves come into it too much it can hinder your performance.
“We’re not naive enough to say there won’t be nerves because we know how much is at stake.
“But let’s not forget we’ve had two home wins on the trot – so let’s make it three.
“We’ll give it 100 per cent to make that happen.”
Rovers were eight minutes away from earning a point in Dumfries when Queen’s substitute Gavin Reilly struck the winning goal which revived his team’s survival hopes.
“For long spells we felt there wasn’t much in it,” Ellis said.
“We had a marginal edge in the first half, but in the second half, for spells, we were on the back foot a bit.
“I don’t think either team could have complained with a point.
“When it gets to closing stages of a game, especially away from home, you just try to tighten up and make sure you see it out.
“But we’ve lost a goal from a throw-in, which we work on a lot in training to make sure chances aren’t created.
“It wouldn’t have been a disaster going up the road with a draw but we’re bitterly disappointed with the way the game finished.
“We were positive in our approach to the game, but the result didn’t go for us.
“Hopefully the people who travelled down can see that we’re really up for making sure we secure our place in the league in the run-in.”