Heavy defeat for Raith Rovers in Premiership play-off first leg

Raith Rovers slumped to a 3-0 home defeat to Dundee, leaving their hopes of reaching the Premiership play-off final in serious doubt.

Jordan McGhee puts the ball past Raith Rovers goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald to open the scoring (Pic: Dave Johnston)
Jordan McGhee puts the ball past Raith Rovers goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald to open the scoring (Pic: Dave Johnston)

James McPake’s side were in command throughout and made sure of the win through a Jordan McGhee double and a late strike from sub Osman Sow.

Raith began the match with the same starting XI as Saturday’s win over Dunfermline and almost found themselves a goal down after just one minute.

A slack pass from centre half Iain Davidson went straight to the feet of Paul McMullan but he blasted his shot wide from a good position.

Dan Armstrong had a shot blocked by Lee Ashcroft before finding himself involved in a moment of controversy.

He clashed off the ball with the Blues’ midfielder McMullan who seemed to push his head into the Rover’s face, but referee Nick Walsh only showed a yellow card when a red may have been more deserving.

The match settled down and it was the visitors who had the better of the play with Rovers being uncharacteristically sloppy in possession.

Rovers’ keeper saved a McGhee header on 18 minutes before Dundee took the lead three minutes later with a moment of real quality.

Former Scotland midfielder Charlie Adam played a beautiful diagonal ball into the box where McGhee side footed a neat volley into the net to make it 1-0.

They almost doubled their lead just two minutes later when McMullan was just inches away from connecting with a cross from Jason Cummings in the six yard box.

Then came yet another controversial incident and once again Rovers were on the wrong side.

A great move ended with Kieran MacDonald passing to Lewis Vaughan whose cross was flicked into the net by Reghan Tumilty but the linesman raised his flag for offside when the right back was clearly on.

Rovers went in at the break a goal behind and with just cause to feel aggrieved at the poor officiating but soon found themselves two goals behind from a self-inflicted wound.

On 54 minutes another slack ball out of defence from Davidson went straight to Adam who showed his class with a pinpoint through ball to McGhee who advanced on goal and slipped the ball past MacDonald for his and Dundee’s second.

The visitors were in total command now but it was Raith who had the next attempt on goal on 68 minutes.

Sub Gozie Ugwu, who had replaced Brad Spencer, played the ball wide to Vaughan and continued his run but when he met the cross his attempt went wide.

But it was Dundee who would go on to put the match – and in all probability the tie – beyond Rovers with a third goal courtesy of subs Max Anderson and Osman Sow who combined on 83 minutes for the latter to put the ball into the net.

With two minutes to go MacDonald saved well from a shot from distance by McGowan as Dundee threatened to run riot.

The match ended with Dundee thoroughly deserving of their convincing win and Rovers with a mountain to climb at Dens Park on Saturday night in the second leg.