Ayr United 1-2 Raith Rovers: Dylan Easton's double sends Ian Murray's men within a point of top spot
That win, courtesy of two well-taken strikes by Dylan Easton, moved the Kirkcaldy club just one point behind second tier leaders Dundee United ahead of this weekend’s clash between the two sides at Stark’s Park.
Speaking after the match to Raith TV, the ex-Hibs and Rangers ace said of the performance: “I didn’t and don’t buy into the idea that coming here (Somerset Park) would have been easy or anything like that due to Ayr’s slow start. This a tough place to come against a team that have good players and a really experienced manager. We knew that it wouldn’t be a game we could just turn up in.
“Our first-half showing was excellent. It was best we have played in weeks, if not all season long, some of our one touch football was outstanding and the two goals were brilliant for everyone to see. I am delighted for our fans who came down to see the match.”
On Dylan’s double, Murray raved about the quality of both goals, especially the second, which saw Sam Stanton slide in Easton driving into the box to score after the team worked the ball from on box to the other in just 13 seconds.
"The first down was great play from Sam (Stanton) on the right-hand side and the ball in to Dylan Easton is great and it was a superb finish,” he said. “The second was my favourite one. I loved the way we counter-attacked and kept the ball moving. I stressed all week to Dylan and Josh Mullin that we could create 2v1s if we were aggressive and we did that and once again Sam has played in a perfect ball to Dylan and it was another great finish.
“We deserved to win the match but a five-odd minute spell of sloppiness could have cost us. But the boys dug in at that point and really did well. The conditions weren’t great but the surface was magnificent, so fair play to the club for the big change from how it looked last season. The Ayr United made a couple of excellent saves to deny us further and overall I am delighted to come here and get away with the three points.”
Murray was forced into changing his shape for the match against the Honest Men after experienced centre-back Keith Watson pulled out due to injury. Scott Brown dropped into the backline, while Jack Hamilton and was replaced as starter by Lewis Vaughan with fellow attacker Callum Smith also coming into the attack.
The boss believes moving to a front pairing probably suits the team better, and that it was the right call to get his best players on the park.
He said: “It was so hard to pick a team. We knew Keith (Watson) was struggling and wouldn’t probably make the game. What would we do? I felt we had to get as many of our best players on the pitch as I could. I feel our players are maybe a littlie bit happier when when we go with two up front.
“Our strikers have options and the midfield have options too. The team like to press and that naturally helps. If you are going to lose a game, lose it with a bit of oomph in us.”