Pop star Matej is hit man for Raith Rovers as winless run is ended

Raith Rovers manager John McGlynn. (Pic: Michael Gillen)Raith Rovers manager John McGlynn. (Pic: Michael Gillen)
Raith Rovers manager John McGlynn. (Pic: Michael Gillen)
A first half goal from Matej Poplatnik saw an under strength Raith Rovers claim their first league win in 12 times of asking as they defeated Queen of the South at Palmerston Park.

It was a much needed three points for Raith in the fight to claim a play-off place, especially with fourth-placed Inverness also ending their own 11-game winless run with victory over Arbroath.

Raith boss John McGlynn made four changes to the side that lost to Ayr United the previous weekend. Reghan Tumilty, Liam Dick, Ross Matthews and Ethan Ross dropped out with Frankie Musonda, Sean Mackie, Jamie Gullan and Ethon Varian stepping into the starting XI.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Due to illness and injury at Stark’s Park, Raith were only able to name three outfield players on the bench for the rehearsal for next month’s SPFL Trust Trophy Final, one of whom was 18-year-old modern apprentice Grieg Young.

With just 90 seconds gone Raith went close with a free kick from Gullan curling narrowly wide, whilst at the other end a shot from Shea Gordon was just off target.

Aidan Connolly ran on to a cute flick from Poplatnik but his shot was straight at Queens’ goalie Josh Rae who saved easily, before Poplatnik himself headed wide.

Despite the depleted nature of the team it was Raith who dominated possession in the first 15 minutes which had been played mostly in the Queens half, and shortly after took the lead.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

With 19 minutes gone Gullan’s shot from the edge of the box was too powerful for keeper Rae to hold and Poplatnik netted the rebound at the second attempt.

On the half hour mark Aidan Connolly should have done better when the ball came to him in space but his attempt was too direct and Rae saved.

A Musonda header from a Connolly free kick was headed tantalisingly back across the face of the Queens goal but there were no takers.

Just before half time the home side came close to equalising when a mix up between Christophe Berra and Jamie MacDonald ended with Innes Cameron heading narrowly over, before the same player had a turn and shot which was saved.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Despite that flurry at the Rovers end, half time arrived with McGlynn’s men deserving of their one goal lead.

Raith used one of their precious subs during the break with Aaron Arnott coming on in place of Gullan.

The first real chance of the second half came from the Doonhamers when player/manager Wille Gibson hit a free kick straight for goal but MacDonald pulled off an excellent save at full stretch.

Queens were seeing a bit more of the ball but MacDonald wasn’t being unduly troubled in the Rovers goal, but did have to receive some treatment after colliding with the post.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

With seven minutes to go teenager Young came on for Raith in place of goalscorer Popllatnik who had gone down a couple of times in the second half.

Euan East flashed a shot wide of the Raith goal with just two minutes remaining but after a backs-to-the-wall final spell Rovers held on for three precious points and a much needed win.