Late flourish in Glasgow earns three points for outnumbered Raith Rovers
A 39th-minute Lewis Vaughan goal, helped past home goalkeeper Calum Ferrie by a deflection, put the Fifers in front at Glasgow’s Hampden Park at half-time and they retained that upper hand until just past the hour mark.
A 61st-minute red card for defender Euan Murray for a foul on Ruari Paton saw the game turn in the hosts’ favour, however. Jack Turner got them back on level terms nine minutes later and they only had to wait a further five minutes for Paton to put them in front, a lead they kept hold of right until the death.
Strikers Jamie Gullan and Jack Hamilton made comebacks from injury as manager Ian Murray looked to get something out of a game slipping out of their reach and both played their part in securing three points when none seemed a likelier prospect.
Hamilton, a 76th-minute replacement for Shaun Byrne, equalised with a back-post header from a Scott McGill cross just ahead of the final whistle and Gullan, brought on for Callum Smith on 82 minutes, won a penalty, awarded for a foul in the box by Aaron Healy, two minutes into seven minutes of stoppage time at the end of the game and it was chipped in by former Spider Ross Millen, sparking a pitch invasion by many of the visitors among the 1,689 fans present.
A Jack Turner shot gave Queen’s one last chance of salvaging a point after that but it was stopped on the line by Millen to earn three points for the second-placed Kirkcaldy club and keep them within reach of Scottish Championship table-toppers Dundee United.
A 2-1 victory for the league leaders at Dunfermline Athletic the night before had seen them go seven points clear at the top of the table but Raith’s late flourish at the national stadium, leaving them with 27 points from a dozen fixtures, pegged that deficit back to four, with a game in hand, ahead of a trip to eighth-placed Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday, December 2, with kick-off at 3pm.
Murray was delighted by his team’s refusal to accept they were beaten, telling Raith TV afterwards: “We know it’s three points and we know it’s another one-goal victory, but in the grand scheme of things, sometimes those results and performances, certainly at the end, are better and bigger than winning by three, four or five because they show me what a bunch we have mentally.
“Physically we know what they’re capable of – we know they’re strong – but mentally it takes real courage and strength to do what they did today.”
It was falling behind that spurred his players on to claim their eighth victory of the season, said Murray, explaining: “That second goal of theirs probably sparked us into a mentality of ‘we’ve got nothing to lose now we’re 2-1 down’.
“It could go to three, four or five perhaps, but does that bother me? Not really. I would rather our players went on and tried to get us back in the game.
“That second goal sometimes makes decisions really quickly for you and forces your hand. Their second goal just changed the momentum of the game in our favour, believe it or not, because suddenly they didn’t have to push for that winning goal and we had to.”