You get lows in football - this makes up for mine

An emotional Greig Spence celebrates winning the Ramsdens Cup.  Picture: Alan Rennie.
An emotional Greig Spence celebrates winning the Ramsdens Cup. Picture: Alan Rennie.

The history books will show that John Baird scored the winner for Raith Rovers in the 117th minute of Sunday’s Ramsdens Cup final.

What should not be forgotten however is the role that substitute Greig Spence played in one of the most important goals in the club’s history.

It was the 21-year-old striker’s persistence that caused the mix-up in the Rangers defence, and while the goalscorer may have grabbed the headlines, Spence was thrilled to have played a key part in a famous victory.

“It all happened so fast that I wasn’t even thinking about there being three minutes left in a cup final,” he said.

“I was just focusing on getting my shot away and after it was saved I thought it was coming back to me, but the next thing I know Bairdy’s stuck it away.

“It’s what you dream of as a wee boy. The fact it was against Rangers just makes it a little more special - words can’t describe it.

“We had a long time to look forward to the final, and get ourselves up for it, and we always believed we had a chance.

“Everyone in the squad played their part and it was amazing to be part of it.”

Sunday was the high point of Spence’s career to date, and helped make up for the disappointment of being released by Celtic two years ago.

“You can go through lows as a footballer sometimes, so this is a wee reward for all the hard work that people don’t see,” he explained.

“People just see you out there on a Saturday and can judge you on a bad game.

“But winning a cup is something you can look back on and say you’ve done something with your career. It’s one of those days you’ll never forget.

“And at my age, I’m hoping there’s more days like that to come.”

Spence revealed that Rovers’ relaxed build-up to the big game helped avoid any pre-match tension in the squad.

“The game was in the back of our minds for months but once we got our last league game out of the way, the whole mood around the club changed,” he said.

“It was all very relaxed leading up to the game - training was changed a wee bit, and we had a wee day out as a squad.

“Everyone was getting a wee buzz out of the media attention and it didn’t feel as though there was any pressure on us.

“We had nothing to lose and everything to gain, and looking back on the game, I think the pressure got to Rangers.

“They were the better team for the first 20 minutes but as the game went on and we were still in the cup you could feel their fans starting to get restless.

“That gave us more belief that we could do it.”

Spence praised the Rovers fans for keeping the team going throughout a gruelling 120 minutes.

“It gives you a huge lift walking out into an atmosphere like that,” Spence said.

“Rangers had a big support but our fans filled a whole stand, and that definitely helped us.

“You could tell, even in the warm-up, that there was a great sense of anticipation and excitement among them, and that gave the players an extra wee spark.

“I think it helped keep boys like Dougie Hill going until the 120th minute.”