Gary's hunt for a hitman

Raith Rovers manager Gary Locke was upbeat about his search for more firepower in attack after Tuesday night's goalless draw with Partick Thistle.

Thursday, 7th July 2016, 10:00 am
Ross Callachan for Raith at Stark's Park against Partick Thistle (FPA Walter Neilson)
Ross Callachan for Raith at Stark's Park against Partick Thistle (FPA Walter Neilson)

Lewis Vaughan played another full 90 minutes while Jonny Court came on early in the second half, showing signs of progress but still lacking that finishing touch needed to hit the back of the net.

Although stating the need for striking reinforcements, Locke praised the boys who currently make up the Raith attack and was optimistic of them hitting some form soon.

“I thought the boys that played up there did a good job,” the manager told the Press.

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“Personally, I’d like to strengthen in the striking department but Lewis Vaughan is looking sharper, along with young Jonny Court, who came on as well.

“You’ve got to remember that Vaughan’s been out a long time but if we can get him firing on all cylinders, we’ll be on to a winner.

“We have a wee bit of scope hopefully to bring a couple of strikers in if we can and we’re certainly working on that at the moment.

“But I thought the boys that played tonight did well.”

Raith appeared relatively comfortable in dealing with the demands of their Premiership opposition and were certainly the more lively of the two sides going forward.

The performance pleased Locke in his first game at Stark’s Park as Raith Rovers manager, stating his delight at the progression that his side have made over the course of their three friendlies.

“It was a good game and a great workout for us,” he said.

“Partick are obviously a Premier League team and gave us a good test but I thought the boys applied themselves really well. Once we find our shooting boots, we’ll not be far away.

“As I say, I don’t read too much into the pre-season games, but I definitely think there’s been a progression in every game.

“Obviously, in the first game, we didn’t do so well but it was all about the fitness and, in the game on Saturday, we did OK.

“I thought we stepped it up another level (against Partick) so things are going along pretty well.”

Locke was pleased to see a return to the starting line-up for the new Rovers left back, Kevin McHattie, who had been forced off in last week’s defeat to Forfar with a knee injury.

In an impressive performance that demonstrated his attacking abilities, it gives Raith an extra dimension going forward, with McHattie providing some much-needed width down the left hand side.

There was also a place in the matchday squad for three trialists, two of whom were given the opportunity to showcase their talents, with both making good first impressions with the new Rovers manager.

“They’re certainly two players we’ll keep an eye on in the next couple of days,” added the gaffer.

“It was a bit hard for the boys as they’ve only trained a couple of days and they’re certainly behind the rest of the boys in terms of their fitness.

“But they’re young lads and I thought they both applied themselves really well tonight.”

Raith have one remaining friendly with a trip to Gayfield scheduled on Saturday, where they will face Dick Campbell’s Arbroath.

This gives Locke one last chance to tinker with his team before they return to competitive action against Cove Rangers on July 15.