First home defeat of this season against Queen’s Park sees Raith Rovers miss chance to reclaim top spot in Scottish Championship

Raith Rovers have lost possession of the Scottish Championship’s top spot after being hit by their third defeat of the current season – their first at home at Kirkcaldy’s Stark’s Park since April – on Saturday.
Dylan Easton putting a cross into the box during Raith Rovers' 2-1 loss at home to Queen's Park on Saturday (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)Dylan Easton putting a cross into the box during Raith Rovers' 2-1 loss at home to Queen's Park on Saturday (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
Dylan Easton putting a cross into the box during Raith Rovers' 2-1 loss at home to Queen's Park on Saturday (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

It only took striker Jack Hamilton three minutes to put the hosts ahead against Queen’s Park with a header beyond visiting goalkeeper Callum Ferrie but the Spiders came up with an equaliser three minutes ahead of half-time Cameron Bruce.

New manager Callum Davidson’s visitors, second from bottom at kick-off, followed up that Cameron Bruce shot past home keeper Andrew McNeil with a header past McNeil by debutant Sean Welsh from a Dom Thomas corner just over ten minutes into the second half.

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That result saw the Fifers miss an opportunity to reclaim pole position from Dundee United following the Tangerines’ 1-0 victory at Inverness Caledonian Thistle the night before.

Jack Hamilton beating Jack Thomson to an aerial ball during Raith Rovers' 2-1 loss at home to Queen's Park on Saturday (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)Jack Hamilton beating Jack Thomson to an aerial ball during Raith Rovers' 2-1 loss at home to Queen's Park on Saturday (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
Jack Hamilton beating Jack Thomson to an aerial ball during Raith Rovers' 2-1 loss at home to Queen's Park on Saturday (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

They remain level with the table-toppers on 44 points, however, though they’ve played 21 games to United’s 20, with their title rivals staying top by virtue of a goal difference 23 better.

Next up in the league for manager Ian Murray’s Rovers side is a visit from seventh-placed Inverness on Saturday, January 27, with kick-off at 3pm, but they’ve got a fourth-round Scottish Cup tie away to top-flight basement side Livingston ahead of that this coming Saturday, also at 3pm.

Murray told Raith TV of his disappointment at his team failing to make the most of their chances at the weekend and also of his disgruntlement at being beaten by a set-piece, an Achilles heel for Raith last season, saying afterwards: “We worked incredibly hard and the players gave absolutely everything out there on the pitch – they kept going right to the end looking for that elusive equaliser – but we also have to appreciate that we put ourselves in a position again where we’d been quite comfortable but we conceded a goal.

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“When a game’s like that and it’s in the balance, it can go either way and today it went against us.

Alex Bannon tugging Jack Hamilton's shirt during Raith Rovers' 2-1 loss at home to Queen's Park on Saturday (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)Alex Bannon tugging Jack Hamilton's shirt during Raith Rovers' 2-1 loss at home to Queen's Park on Saturday (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
Alex Bannon tugging Jack Hamilton's shirt during Raith Rovers' 2-1 loss at home to Queen's Park on Saturday (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

“We had some really good opportunities in the game to extend our lead and then we had good opportunities to equalise and it’s not happened.

“We just had to try and find a way to win the game but we didn’t.

“We have to look at our chances that we’ve missed – can we be a bit more ruthless, can we demand a little bit more from ourselves and try to put games to bed a bit earlier?”

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Reflecting on midfielder Welsh’s match-winner, Murray, 42, added: “Their second goal was really frustrating.

New boy Kyle Turner being fouled by Jack Turner during Raith Rovers' 2-1 loss at home to Queen's Park on Saturday (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)New boy Kyle Turner being fouled by Jack Turner during Raith Rovers' 2-1 loss at home to Queen's Park on Saturday (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
New boy Kyle Turner being fouled by Jack Turner during Raith Rovers' 2-1 loss at home to Queen's Park on Saturday (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

“I think there are a lot of aspects within that. There are probably four areas in the build-up to the goal we could have done better with – we were sloppy with a pass, we dipped a toe into a tackle, we then had an opportunity to maybe put the ball out for a throw-in but we gave away a corner kick and then we didn’t defend the corner and we got done.

“It’s going to happen at set-plays but I feel frustration about that one more than anything else.

“Their first goal was a really, really good finish from their player, but if you let players inside, you give them a chance.

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“I feel frustration about the goals we’ve conceded and we have to look at them and try and get better at dealing with those sorts of threat. We’ve got to understand how we’re letting teams get into these areas of the park and then they’re capitalising.”