We need 11 men on the pitch

4512040 SSFF airdrie raith 'celebrations for Greig Spence's last minute equalizer - Airdrie FC against Raith Rovers at the Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie
4512040 SSFF airdrie raith 'celebrations for Greig Spence's last minute equalizer - Airdrie FC against Raith Rovers at the Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie

RAITH Rovers boss Grant Murray has told striker Brian Graham to learn from his Scottish Cup red card.

Graham was sent off for violent conduct for the second time in his Raith career during Saturday’s third round tie at Airdrie following an alleged off the ball elbow.

Murray has watched the incident again and although the footage is inconclusive, he is nonetheless disappointed that his top scorer has effectively ruled himself out of the next two matches, Saturday’s league match against Falkirk, and Tuesday’s cup replay against Airdrie.

“It’s difficult to see on the video because of the glare from the sun,” Murray said.

“You can see that the Airdrie player is involved in it quite a bit, but Brian has reacted.

“It’s the first time this has happened with Brian since I’ve been manager and I can only judge him on that.

“He has to realise that he’s going to get a lot of attention because of the goals he’s been scoring.

“That’s part of his game he’s going to have to handle, and the best answer to that is to put the ball in the back of the net. The bottom line is, don’t get caught up in anything.

“Refs are under so much scrutiny nowadays that it’s easier for them to put a player off and then deal with it later. Brian’s been involved in every game so far this season and scored a good majority of our goals, and other teams will target him because of that.

“You want to keep 11 players on the park, and who knows, if we did, we might have won the game.

“We still created chances with 10 men and showed great fighting spirit to stay in the cup, which is credit to the rest of the guys.”

Murray is looking for his team to build on a five-game unbeaten run when Stephen Pressley’s Falkirk visit Stark’s Park on Saturday.

“Falkirk are still a very good side,” he said. “They had to replace some big players in the summer, and I think they have.

“They are a young, enthusiastic side that is very good on the attack.

“Our games against them over the last couple of years have been great games, and I expect this one to be the same.”

Rovers then welcome Airdrie to Kirkcaldy for Tuesday night’s cup replay, with Highland League Deveronvale drawn away to the winners in the next round.

“It’s a good draw for the team that gets through and we’re hoping it’s going to be us,” Murray added.

Goalkeeper David McGurn’s rib injury will be assessed in the build-up to Saturday’s match, while Eddie Malone comes back into contention after missing the Airdrie match due to a suspension carried over from last season.