We don’t want Dougie to lose his physical side

Dougie Hill leaves the field with Raith kit man Brian Marr after getting sent off against Hamilton. Pic: Neil Doig

Dougie Hill leaves the field with Raith kit man Brian Marr after getting sent off against Hamilton. Pic: Neil Doig

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Raith Rovers manager Grant Murray will not ask defender Dougie Hill to change his style despite seeing him sent off for a fifth time in 11 months.

Hill was red carded during the first half of Saturday’s crunch match against league leaders Hamilton as 10-man Raith battled back to earn a draw.

Murray is standing by his centre-back, however, insisting that his physical approach is an asset more often than a hindrance.

“Dougie was unfortunate,” Murray said. “He’s on a booking and makes a challenge.

“It’s one where if he wins the ball it’s a great challenge, unfortunately he doesn’t and the referee comes to a decision to put him off.

“I can understand why people say he’s got a disciplinary problem. We don’t feel he’s got that because he’s got one side of the game that you can’t put into people.

“He has a physical side and you don’t want him to lose it because when he’s winning balls and keeping strikers away from goal, he’s one of the best in the league at it.

“For him, it’s about getting that balance right and understanding that sometimes when you’re on a booking you have to stay on your feet.”

Rovers are preparing for two home games in the space of four days with Saturday’s match against bottom side Morton followed by the visit of Livingston on Tuesday.

Murray is particularly looking forward to welcoming Livi boss John McGlynn back to Stark’s Park for the midweek clash.

McGlynn enjoyed a successful six years at Stark’s Park and made Murray his captain after signing him from Kilmarnock in 2009.

“It will be the first time I’ve stood beside him in opposite dugouts in a competitive game, so it will be a strange one,” Murray said.

“He’s got Livingston playing well and he’s got them getting results, so we know that will be a very difficult game.

“They will enjoy working under him, so long as they don’t enjoy it too much on Tuesday.”

Hill is suspended for Saturday’s match against Morton, however, defender Paul Watson looks set to recover from injury in time to face the Greenock side.