Agony of SPFL Trust Trophy loss can spur Raith Rovers to beat Hamilton Accies

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Raith Rovers captain Scott Brown reckons the pain felt at losing last season’s SPFL Trust Trophy final 1-0 to Hamilton Accies at the Falkirk Stadium can act as a great spur for the Kirkcaldy men to see off John Rankin’s team when the sides face off again in the quarter-final of the 2023-24 tournament.

Despite enjoying large spells of domimance and playing against 10 men for 35 minutes after Dan O’Reilly was sent off in the Challenge Cup showpiece on March 26, Raith – who had 17 goal attempts to Hamilton’s three – somehow lost to a first half strike by ex-Raith man Reghan Tumilty.

“I would say that final was probably up there with the most painful days of my career,” Brown – whose side will travel to Accies for the quarter-final tie on Friday, November 17, kick-off 7.45pm - told the Fife Free Press.

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"It was obviously a disappointing day for me. Being captain, I kind of felt that a wee bit extra because I would have been the one who lifted the trophy first and it would have been really sweet to do that in my first season at Raith.

Raith Rovers' Scott Brown (right) looks crestfallen as Hamilton's Regan Tumilty celebrates scoring only goal in SPFL Trust Trophy final on March 26 (Pic Craig Foy/SNS Group)Raith Rovers' Scott Brown (right) looks crestfallen as Hamilton's Regan Tumilty celebrates scoring only goal in SPFL Trust Trophy final on March 26 (Pic Craig Foy/SNS Group)
Raith Rovers' Scott Brown (right) looks crestfallen as Hamilton's Regan Tumilty celebrates scoring only goal in SPFL Trust Trophy final on March 26 (Pic Craig Foy/SNS Group)

"I haven’t watched the game back, but from what people have told me it was almost harder for us to lose the game with the chances we had.

"On another day we would have scored three or four goals. It was really frustrating.

"It was such a weird game. It was almost as though going down to 10 men almost suited Hamilton because it meant they could just defend their lead.

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"Sometimes it’s harder to play against 10 men because they were just focused on getting behind the ball rather than actually coming out to try and attack us and they would maybe have left a bit more space.

"The Accies goalie (Ryan Fulton) was incredible that day and Hamilton deserved to win. Finals are never really great games as such but when you come up against a goalie like that it makes it incredibly difficult.

“They came up with a game plan to stop us and they scored the only goal.

"Fair play to Hamilton. I spoke to the Hamilton manager after the game and just said: ‘Fair play, you deserved to win the trophy’.

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"This upcoming tie is a chance for us to get revenge. We can’t change anything that’s happened in the past unfortunately.

"I’m sure that the boys who were here last season who are playing in this game against Hamilton will have that extra incentive.

"We have a chance of winning this game, getting into the semi-finals and hopefully getting ourselves right back into the mix for winning the trophy.”

As if any extra motivation was needed to beat Hamilton, Brown also recounted the Lanarkshire side effectively ending Raith’s promotion bid last season by winning 2-1 in a league game at Kirkcaldy on April 4.

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He said: “Accies probably put an end to our play-off hopes as well when they came to us the week after the final.

"We’d just got a good result in the league against Queen’s Park where we bounced back really well.

"We then lost to Hamilton so they seemed to be a wee bit of a nemesis for us last season.

"They got relegated so it’s a good chance for the boys that were here last year to get a small bit of revenge.”

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