Competition for places can breed success for Raith

RAITH Rovers manager John McGlynn believes he has a squad capable of ensuring a happy Christmas at Stark's Park.

The Kirkcaldy side start the countdown to the festive period with three crucial games in a week, with a difficult trip to Inverness first up on Saturday before Airdrie visit Fife on Tuesday.

But on the back of the recent short term signings of Thierry Gatheussi, Javier Amaya, Kevin Smith and Greg Cameron, McGlynn reckons he has the resources, barring another injury crisis, to steer the team through a crucial time in the season.

"We've got players fit and available who will not make the 16," McGlynn explained. "It's a problem I've never had, although it's something I look forward to.

"It's not a long term option, but it will certainly make us very strong in the short term.

"I would hope that competition for places would encourage players to go out and perform to the best of their ability.

"I can't ever criticise our players for effort, but they will certainly need to perform at their maximum to stay in the team over the coming weeks.

"I'm hoping that the competition for places will breed success."

Even with Grant Murray sitting out the final match of his suspension on Saturday and both Iain Davidson and Iain Williamson still recovering from injury, the Rovers boss has 18 first team players to pick from.

"This squad will help us get through the crucial Christmas period," he said.

"If we're still in the bunch come the middle of January, and still in the Scottish Cup, then that would be a massive compliment to everyone at the football club.

"At the moment, we're three points away from third in the table. If we're hanging around there in the middle of January we're halfway through the season."

McGlynn warned however that the club cannot sustain the current squad size beyond the January transfer window.

"It's because of our injury situation that the squad is so big," he stressed. "We can't afford to carry that amount of players for the entire season. We never set out to have such a big squad because the budget doesn't lend for it.

"However, we have a little drop of money to get us over this period, and that's where I'm at.

"We have three players on loan from Dundee United. We can't keep these three players, Javier Amaya and Theirry Gathuessi. We may be able to keep one or two, depending on situations.

"If we were to beat Airdrie in the Scottish Cup, it might help us to do a deal with someone until the end of the season."

Rovers travel to Inverness looking to avenge the 1-0 defeat suffered at Stark's Park in October.

"We have it in our locker," McGlynn added. "Going away from home doesn't scare us. They are a team came down from SPL and there ambition is to go straight back up.

"They'll probably see Raith Rovers as three points in the bag but we've been a coupon buster on our day this season and we'll have to do it again."

THE NEW Year derby against Dunfermline at East End Park is all-ticket. Tickets for Rovers fans will go on sale, on a first come-first served basis, at the office at Stark's Park on Monday and can be purchased on weekdays only between 10 a.m and 4 p.m.

Tickets will not be on sale prior to the match against Airdrie United, while fans are also asked to note that the office will be closed on December 23, 24 and 28.

Prices are: Adults - 16; Concessions - 10; Over 60's, U18s, full time students with valid matriculation card, and U12s - 5.