Raith defender aiming for repeat of 2009 title comeback

Raith Rovers defender Iain Davidson gave a blunt assessment of the team's recent performances but insisted that the title race is not over yet.

Friday, 23rd March 2018, 12:36 pm
Updated Friday, 23rd March 2018, 12:43 pm
Iain Davidson in recent action for Raith Rovers. Credit- Fife Photo Agency
Iain Davidson in recent action for Raith Rovers. Credit- Fife Photo Agency

Davidson was club captain the last time Raith found themselves in a similar position, having also lost to title rivals Ayr United in a crucial match near the end of 2008-09 season in the old Second Division.

After that 1-0 defeat at Stark’s Park, which left Raith three points adrfit, John McGlynn’s side went on an eight-game winning spree to clinch the title, now Davidson is hoping history can repeat itself under current boss Barry Smith.

The 34-year-old was suspended for the 3-0 defeat at Somerset Park but returned for the 2-1 midweek loss at Forfar, results which have left Rovers trailing Ayr by six points with seven games remaining, although the Kirkcaldy men have a game in hand.

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Iain Davidson with the Second Division trophy in 2009.

“It’s difficult for me to be critical of the Ayr performance because I was in the stand, but we need to face the facts and we were second best the whole game,” he said.

“Before the Forfar game it was a lively, good changing room and I genuinely thought we would bounce back.

“The first half was probably passable, but the second half wasn’t good enough and, again, we’ve let ourselves down. It’s out of our hands now but we were in a similar position under McGlynn and we came back to win it then.

“I always remember it because Ayr celebrated on the pitch that day like they’d won the league and there was still nine games to go.

Iain Davidson with the Second Division trophy in 2009.

“We know it’s going to be tough but if we’re going to win this league we need to win the next seven games, it’s about as simple as that.”

The squad were called in for a team meeting last week following the poor performance in Forfar, and Davidson felt there was a positive outcome from the “open and frank” discussions with the manager.

“The experienced boys and the gaffer had a bit of a chin-wag and got things out that needed to be said,” he said.

“The gaffer wanted to hear different opinions and that’s good man-management in my view. We spoke about what we’ve been doing wrong, what we’ve been doing right, and it was good to get it off the chest.

“We were looking to bouncing back in the derby on Sunday, and the game being postponed just drags it on for another week and keeps that soreness going.

“We just need to get back to doing basics, being hard to beat, make sure we’re not second best, out-work our oppoennts, and stating the obvious, score goals as well.

“We just need to try and respond and win the seven games, and hopefilly get over this finishing line.

“We need to remain positive and stick together – coaching staff, players, fans – and come the end of the season we’ll see what happens.

“Hopefully they’ll drop points and we can win the next seven games. We know what we need to do, and hopefully it’s possible.”

Rovers travel to Airdrie on Saturday to face a side who have lost just one league game on home soil this season.

“That tells you it’s a tough venue, and the last time we played there it turned out to a be a good draw in the end,” Davidson said.

“But we can’t afford a draw on Saturday, let’s be honest.

“We need to go there, be on the front foot, and make sure we come off that pitch with three points.

“Hopefully we can get a bit of confidence going by making sure we’re doing the right things. It’s alright doing all the talking off the pitch, but we need produce it on the pitch and some of that’s been missing lately, and it’s come at a bad time. We just need to remain positive, keep going, and you never know.”