Benedictus provides solid base as Raith rotate defensive partners
Raith Rovers defender Kyle Benedictus helped give the team a solid base to build on during Saturday's penalty shoot-out win against Ross County, and not just during the 90 minutes.
While he and his fellow defenders were able to deal quite comfortably with the majority of County’s forward forays, Benedictus also nonchalantly placed Rovers first spot kick beyond Scott Fox, in a penaltyduel that Rovers just edged.
The 24-year-old is hardly renowned for his prowess from 12 yards out, but he suggested there wasn’t much doubt in his mind as he elected to lead the way,
“I’m usually a confident player anyway, and Darren Jackson told me just to go for it, so I decided to take the first one and get the boys going,” he said.
It looked at one stage that the bonus point may be staying in Dingwall after Fox stopped Ross Callachan’s effort and Jason Thomson hit the post, but two saves from Kevin Cuthbert helped to swing the shootout Raith’s way, and Ian McShane’s miss ensured Rovers received what Benedictus felt was a just reward.
“It was a tough game, but we knew it would be before we came up here,” he said.
“We defended well as a team, right from the front, and I always felt we had players that could hurt them.
“Most people watching the game would probably say we shaded it over 90 minutes, especially the first half when we were on top.
“Ross County came into it after the break, but I thought the penalty decision was very harsh.”
The game saw Kyle line up alongside another new central defensive partner in Jean-Yves M’Voto, a recurring theme for Benedictus, who has been paired with a number of players in just over a season at the club.
He insists however, that the defensive rotation hasn’t been an impediment,
He stated: “It can be difficult to get used to new partnerships, but everyone I’ve played beside, Lewis Toshney, Craig Barr, Iain Davidson, David Bates and now Jean have all been naturals in that position, so it’s been fine.
“Jean speaks really good English, and we’ve seen in training what a big, strong boy he is, and I thought we struck up a good partnership today.
“He talked through the whole game and he’s played at a good level, so hopefully I can learn a lot from him as well.
“He looks like he could be a handful in the opponent’s box too, so that’s something we can work on in training.”
Further forward, Raith appear to have a strong spine to the team, with Iain Davidson and Ross Callachan proving a solid combination, while Lewis Vaughan and Declan McManus looked to have the makings of a fruitful doubleact.
“The boys were talking during the week about the strength in depth, and you could see that today,” he said.
“I thought Declan McManus was a different class today.
“I played against him last season and thought he was one of the tougher forwards I came up against, so he’s a great signing.”