John McGlynn: Raith Rovers win League One with a full strength squad

Raith Rovers manager John McGlynn.
Raith Rovers manager John McGlynn.

John McGlynn reckons a full strength Raith Rovers would have won the League One title.

The Kirkcaldy side has been plagued by injuries all season, particularly in recent weeks with seven players missing from Sunday's 2-2 draw against champions Arbroath, who are 13 points ahead at the top having clinched the title the previous week.

Two key players - striker Lewis Vaughan and on-loan Celtic midfielder Regan Hendry - have barely featured due to season-ending knee injures, while another, striker Chris Duggan, has only managed five league starts in a stop-start campaign.

First choice goalkeeper Robbie Thomson has also had his season cut short with an achilles injury that has ruled him out for up to 10 months, while several others, including club captain Kyle Benedictus, midfielder Grant Gillespie, and winger Tony Dingwall, have spent long spells on the sidelines.

McGlynn reckons he has only had a full strength squad to choose from on two occasions since taking over in September, and while accepting his team have been masters of their own downfall at times, he believes the injury situation cost them the title.

"We've let ourselves down because we've had opportunities and we've not taken them," he said.

"We'll never know how nervous Arbroath might have got if the gap had closed, but it didn't happen because we've not had our best players.

"If we'd got our strongest team on the pitch for the whole season, I'm going to say we win the league.

"But we've had four or five players missing, or two or three players missing, all season.

"I can think of only two times when we had our whole squad to choose from and that makes a massive difference when it's the calibre of players we've had missing.

"But we've still got a lot to play for - we can still get to the Championship and that's our aim."

McGlynn was speaking after the 2-2 draw at Gayfield that meant Raith failed to reclaim second place in the table from Forfar, who are one point ahead going into the final two fixtures.

"It would have been nice to get all three points and go back into second but I can't ask much more of the players," he said.

"We're here with seven first team players down, nine if you include young boys Keiron Bowie and Jack Smith who've been in and around the squad.

"Euan Murray called off with a sickness bug, which was unexpected, so we had to put another player in the team and change the formation, which was a lot of upheaval again.

"We also had to ask Kyle Benedictus to play 90 minutes when he's not played in 10 weeks, in temperatures above 20 degrees.

"We've come here with a depleted squad, and it's not easy, so I've got to give the lads massive credit for working hard and getting a draw away to the league champions."