Under contract Matthews fighting to keep Raith up

Ross Matthews, Raith Rovers -  credit - FPA  -
Ross Matthews, Raith Rovers - credit - FPA -

Raith Rovers midfielder Ross Matthews likes doing the ugly side of the game - but even he admitted that Saturday’s draw with Queen of the South was an eyesore.

The 21-year-old is carving out a career as a combative, no frills, defensive midfield player, in the mould of Celtic and Scotland captain Scott Brown, and it’s a role he enjoys.

However, he admitted that there was nothing enjoyable about the 1-1 draw with the Doonhamers on Saturday in a match bereft of quality.

“We started alright with a goal and a good finish from Hardie, but the game just turned so scrappy,” he said.

“It wasn’t a great performance. Everyone was trying their hardest but neither team was playing football. It just felt like the ball was going over the top of you all the time.

“The pitch was a bit bobbly but we can’t use that as an excuse.

“Both teams had the same game plan to try and get it into the channels and play off seconds, and it just turned into an absolute battle.

“You could tell it wasn’t nice for the fans to watch either.

“Maybe everyone was too scared to lose a goal and just kept hitting it forward. It was a bit panicky.

“I don’t think we are feeling pressure. We know we’re good enough players to get out of it, but we need to relax, and pick the right passes.

“I feel that we’re good defensively we just need to be better on the ball and try to create things, and take our chances when they get them.”

Matthews is only 21 but has already worked under five different Raith managers since making the breakthrough under John McGlynn.

He has found current boss, John Hughes, to be the most demanding.

“Training is different, much harder,” he said.

“He demands a lot and is constantly on your case, but he’s just trying to improve us.

“It can be a bit in your face at times but I know he’s just trying to help. He’s got that old school style and that’s what we need at the moment. We need a good kick.”

Matthews signed a contract extension after Christmas that ties him to Stark’s Park until the summer of 2019 – and he does not want to be playing his football in League One.

“I’m signed for the next couple of years and I want to keep this club up,” he said.

“I’m playing for my future as well as the club’s future.

“I don’t want to think about what could happen. Everyone is fighting so the club can stay up.”