Callum Crane looking to emulate Alloa promotion with Raith Rovers

Callum Crane in action against Hibs in the Scottish Cup in February. Pic - Fife Photo Agency
Callum Crane in action against Hibs in the Scottish Cup in February. Pic - Fife Photo Agency

Raith Rovers left back Callum Crane is looking to win a second consecutive promotion after playing his part in keeping the Kirkcaldy side down last season.

Crane (inset) was part of the Alloa side that not only prevented Raith from winning the League One title by securing a goalless draw at Stark’s Park in the final league game, but then went on to eliminate Rovers from the play-off semi-final, before going on to reach the Championship by relegating Dumbarton in the final.

At the time Crane was on loan to the Wasps from Hibs, and this year he is in a similar position, having joined Rovers on loan from Livingston in September after making the switch from Easter Road in the summer.

And he is in no doubt over what it will take for Rovers to emulate Alloa’s heroics last season.

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“It takes the whole team working together, even the subs coming on, and everyone just needs to pull together,” he said.

“As long as we keep going for the whole 90 minutes, and don’t give up, then anything can happen.”

A cornerstone of Alloa’s success last season was their watertight defence which conceded just three goals in their last seven games including the play-offs.

By contrast, Rovers have conceded seven in their last three outings, kept only one clean sheet in their last 17, and with a tendency to lose cheap goals, as highlighted in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Brechin.

“It’s another two sloppy goals that could definitely be avoided,” Crane said.

“That’s been the pattern of the whole season.

“We’re scoring loads of goals, but we’re losing stupid goals week in, week out.

“If we want to have any chance of going up we need to tighten up at the back, defend from the front, and work together as a team.

“You can’t be losing stupid goals in the play-offs.”

With Kevin Nisbet in prolific form up front, Crane is confident that if Rovers can keep the back door closed, they will be able to overcome both Forfar and whichever team they would then face in the final.

“If we go ahead we need to make sure we defend for our lives, and keep a clean sheet,” he said.

“Look at Alloa last year, we kept a clean sheet in first game at home and that made it harder for Raith to come back in the second leg.

“We know we’re going to score, so if we lose one goal there’s no panic, but if we can keep a clean sheet we’ll do well.”

Rovers’ first hurdle in the play-offs will be Jim Weir’s Forfar side, who have won their last three home matches against the Fifers.

“We’ve known it’ll be Forfar for a while,” Crane said.

“We’ve had good games with them this season and it will be a good challenge.

“We’ve not won up there, which isn’t great, but it’s a chance to go up there in the play-offs and right the wrongs.”