We’re not a long ball team, insists Raith boss

Raith Rovers manager Ray McKinnon. Pic: Lisa Ferguson
Raith Rovers manager Ray McKinnon. Pic: Lisa Ferguson

Raith Rovers manager Ray McKinnon is confident that the Livingston defeat is out the system after holding a positive meeting with his players on Monday.

The squad had an open and honest discussion about where things went wrong on Saturday and what they need to do to put things right for the visit of Falkirk.

“I was a wee bit harsh with the team after the game because I felt deflated, but looking back at it, we weren’t at our best, but we weren’t terrible,” McKinnon said.

“For 60 minutes we were okay, but two mistakes put us two goals down and after that we became desperate and lost momentum.

“Whether it’s a foul or not, the first goal should have been a clear catch for Kevin, but we’ve then had three great chances before half-time that should have been in the net. We can’t afford to miss three good chances in a game - we need to bury them.

“Then we got caught cold with a header from a corner, and the boys were a wee bit deflated after that. The last 30 minutes was the worst part of the game for me.

“But it’s out the system. You get games like that where things don’t come off.

“The boys have trained great this week, and they are all buzzing.

“They know they’ve done well up until now. We’re in a great position and another couple of victories would set us up nicely.”

Raith’s repeated use of the long ball to Jon Daly throughout the second half on Saturday has also been addressed by McKinnon, who insists that he does not want his team to adopt a route one approach.

“We worked all week on overloads in the wide area, never once did we mention to go long to Jon,” he said. “We did it great in the first half, but our final ball was poor.

“When we lost the second goal the boys got desperate and just started booming it - and that’s not us. We’ve got Jon, and we will use him, but not straight from the back. That’s not going to work for us.

“When we have that variety, boys get forward from the back, there’ are one-twos and overloads - that’s what we preach.”

Saturday’s match against Falkirk is shaping up to be a key one in the battle for the top four with the Bairns currently three points clear of the Kirkcaldy side in third place.

“They are one of the big hitters in the division in terms of squad-size,” McKinnon said. “It’s a tough game, but not a game we can’t go and win.

“We’ll be competitive in every game we can be, but it’s a long haul and we’ll see where we are at end of the season.

“If we can finish top four it would be great achievement.”

Club captain Jason Thomson is a major injury doubt after lasting only 40 minutes against Livingston.

Rovers are asking fans to arrive a little earlier for a pre-match schedule that will remember the fallen of both World Wars, and other conflicts.

A club statement read: “Both ourselves and our opponents Falkirk will pay fitting tribute to the players of our clubs who joined McCrae’s Battalion during the Great War of 1914-18 and who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

“Firstly, we are delighted to welcome as our guest Major Gary Tait MBE from Royal Highlander Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (2 SCOTS), and Chairman of the McCrae’s Battalion Trust.

“Leading out the teams will also be Marshall Bowman, lifelong Rovers fan who will also voluntarily represent our club to lay the wreath at the Heart of Midlothian Memorial at Haymarket on Sunday.

“Additionally, the Battalion Trust will also have further members on hand at their display table in the south stand concourse pre-match which fans are welcome to attend.

Burntisland Pipe Band will be in attendance and, as is customary, a lone piper will play ‘Flowers of the Forest‘ prior to a one minute silence just before kick off.

Rovers will also have 11 young mascots wearing specially designed T-shirts to accompany the team onto the field.

Rovers will be wearing their special RemembeR away top which fans can still purchase from the office, online or from Club Shop on matchday.

In order to pay respects and mimimise any disruption the club is encouraging fans to be in place for 2.50 p.m.