DOUGIE Hill insists Raith Rovers will bounce back from their Fife derby disappointment – because they can’t play any worse.
Saturday’s 3-1 defeat was Rovers’ first loss under Grant Murray after the new player-manager started the campaign with six wins out of seven in all competitions.
And with eight months of the season still left, Hill has confidently predicted that the performance at East End Park will go down as the team’s worst.
“It’s probably the poorest we’ll play all season,” he told the Press.
“It’s not great that it happened in the derby, especially with all the fans turning out in great numbers.
“But we’ll not play as poorly as that, or be as open as that, again this season.
“Teams that play us are normally lucky if they have four or five shots on target, but they had about eight or nine in each half.
“Davie McGurn was as busy as he’s every been.
“It was just one of those days when they wanted it more, and that was all that mattered.
“They started the game well and we never, and they had the desire to get there.
“Yet for playing so badly we could have got a point – we had enough chances to get a 3-3 draw.
“Would it have been a different game if big Brian had scored his penalty? Who knows.
“But Brian has been fantastic for us this season and we don’t grudge him for missing it.”
The main talking point after the game was Murray’s decision to hand 19-year-old defender Colin Wilson his first senior start.
It was a judgement that back-fired as the youngster, struggling with a broken hand, was at fault for Dunfermline’s opening goal.
Hill said: “Coco’s a good lad and after doing well up at Ross County in midweek he really wanted to play – but I don’t think he was right.
“He had a broken hand and got his stookie cut off just so he could play in the game.
“That shows you the desire he had to play, but I don’t think you can get away with that in a derby.
“It’s hard enough to come into a derby for your first game, but even more so when you’re not fully fit.
“But he’ll learn from it and he’s only going to get better.
“The gaffer thought he wasn’t fit enough to play the whole game himself and he showed a lot of confidence in Colin.
“He will bounce back.”
Hill is now looking for Rovers to get back to winning ways this Sunday in the quarter-final of the Ramsdens Cup.
Rovers travel to Firhill to face the first division’s early pacesetters, Partick Thistle, and Hill is expecting a tough match.
“It’s chance to get into a semi-final so the lads will all be up for it,” he said.
“It won’t be an easy game because Partick are a good team but we don’t want two defeats in a row.
“There’s less pressure because it’s a cup game so hopefully we can just go out and enjoy it.
“We’ve started the season really well and we want that to continue.”