Victory secures first division football

1812001 SSFF raith qots 'Dougie Hill has the ball nicked away by Goalie Lee Robinson - Raith Rovers against Queen of the South at Starks Park, Kirkcaldy
1812001 SSFF raith qots 'Dougie Hill has the ball nicked away by Goalie Lee Robinson - Raith Rovers against Queen of the South at Starks Park, Kirkcaldy

RAITH Rovers have all but secured their place in next season’s first division after marching to a 3-1 victory over Queen of the South at Stark’s Park on Saturday.

Goals from Brian Graham, John Baird and Pat Clarke not only consigned the visitors to relegation, it also kept Raith three points ahead of Ayr United, who also won at home to Dundee, with just one league game remaining.

However, with a goal difference advantage of 17, it would take an extraordinary set of results on the final day of the season for Rovers to be caught.

Top scorer Baird believes manager John McGlynn deserves all the credit for keeping the club up.

“It means everything to stay up, especially for the manager,” he said.

“He was voted Manager of the Year last season, and people might ask why he’s not been challenging again this year.

“But what do you expect when you lose 15 bodies? I don’t know how many young kids we’ve had from Hearts on loan.

“It was always going to be difficult but he’s done a great job keeping us up.”

Rovers went in front after 14 minutes when Graham, with his back to goal, latched onto an Allan Walker knock-down and his superb shot on the turn found into the bottom corner.

The Kirkcaldy team made it 2-0 nine minutes after half-time when Baird stroked home a Jamie Walker cross, but a Danny Carmichael strike just three minutes later brought Queen’s back into the game.

A stunning David McGurn save eight minutes from time preserved Rovers’ lead, and substitute Clarke broke clear in injury time to stroke home the clinching goal.

A delighted McGlynn added: “We’ve been down there for most of the season, but it’s a massive tribute to the players that they’ve shown such character, desire and work rate to battle through.

“Unfortunately however, the financial situation is still not particularly great, so we’ll need to have a meeting with directors this week, get a budget, and see who we can keep and what we need to do going forward.”