Raith Rovers 1, Stirling Albion 0
You should never attempt to glean too much from pre-season friendlies.
After all, the 2015-16 campaign, Rovers’ best in donkey’s years, was preceded by four successive defeats, while last year’s decent performance against Dunfermline was hardly a portent of the junk of a season which followed.
No, from a fan’s perspective, friendlies should purely be used as an opportunity to have a good nosey at the new signings, while watching a game in the sun.
Saturday’s 1-0 win over Stirling Albion certainly allowed the Rovers support to do the former, with eight new acquisitions playing a part in the victory, although the second half appearance of thunder, lightning and biblical rain levels meant the latter was sadly missing.
So bad was the weather, the floodlights actually had to be used at 4pm in June. Surely a first?
Setting up in a 4-3-3, John McGlynn used seven new signings in the starting eleven and, while performances in a kick-around against lower division opposition should probably be taken which a large handful of salt, initial impressions seemed favourable.
In goals, Ross County loanee Ross Munro looked more than capable at dealing with crosses and his handling was impressive. It was difficult to gauge how good a shot-stopper he was though, with Stirling’s two best attempts from Lewis Hawke and Dominic Docherty
both off target.
At left back, Kieran MacDonald appeared to have the energy to get up and down the park alld ay, while at centre-half Fernandy Mendy was awarded the man-of-the-match prize.
An uncompromising-looking defender, he seemed perfectly happy to head anything that came his way, be it the ball, an opponent, or even a colleague.
He also looked to have an impressive range of passing and, while he seemed a little ring-rusty and wild to begin with, he settled into the match as it wore on.
In midfield, Michel Miller played in front of the defence and kept things ticking over, but it was Regan Hendry who stuck out the most.
The former Celtic man both won and converted the penalty which decided the game in the 77th minute, sending Bino’s ‘keeper Blair Currie the wrong way after he was chopped down in the penalty area.
If the cultured midfielder can continue to develop, he’ll be both a fan favourite and a stick out in League One.
While back to middle looked pretty good, it was up-top where there looked a little room for development.
Sixteen-year-old Kieron Bowie looks like a genuine prospect wide on the right, and Joao Victoria will cause defences some hassle on the other flank. But, although Grant Anderson had a decent game at the tip of the attacking trio, the team clearly lacked a natural striker.