Raith give goalkeeper assurances ahead of relegation six-pointer

Raith Rovers manager John Hughes insists the club will have a goalkeeper in place for tomorrow's relegation six-pointer against bottom of the table St Mirren.

Tuesday, 7th March 2017, 12:26 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:05 am
John Hughes insists Raith will have a proper goalkeeper in place for the visit of St Mirren on Wednesday. Pic: George McLuskie
John Hughes insists Raith will have a proper goalkeeper in place for the visit of St Mirren on Wednesday. Pic: George McLuskie

The Kirkcaldy club are close to solving their goalkeeper crisis after being forced to field striker Ryan Stevenson in goals for last Tuesday’s 1-0 defeat at Ayr United, when a request to postpone the match was rejected by the SPFL.

The bizarre situation arose due to all three of Raith’s recognised shot-stoppers, Kevin Cuthbert, Aaron Lennox and Connor Brennan, all being sidelined by injury, while a deal to recruit third choice Celtic ‘keeper Logan Bailly for the Ayr clash collapsed at the last minute.

The Press understands that a junior football stopper trained with the team yesterday (Monday) while an experienced goalkeeper from Europe is also due to arrive today and could be thrown straight into action pending international clearance.

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Responding to whether a ‘keeper would be signed in time for Wednesday’s game, Hughes replied: “100 per cent.

“We’ve been working really hard. I want to bring in a goalkeeper that the boys go, ‘oh aye!’. Someone that can do himself justice.

“I want someone with experience and I think the boys deserve that, that’s nothing against anyone else. There’s some wonderful young goalkeepers coming through in Scotland, but I’m a centre-half and I would like to know I had a goalkeeper in there with some experience.

“We will have a goalkeeper, we have been working very hard. We worked very hard last time to try and get it done and one fell through.

“I hope we learn from it for the future and don’t get into the mess again, just for Scottish football. It’s done and dusted. Stevo went in goals and it was not his fault we got beat, he made one or two saves and his kicking was different class.”

Rovers go into the match just six points ahead of the Buddies, who have enjoyed a recent form revival, while the Kirkcaldy men are now 17 games without a win stretching back to October.

Hughes added: “I’ll tell you right now, we’re in a relegation fight and the quicker we realise that and roll our sleeves up, we’ll be better for it.

“It’s a harder job than I thought, that’s for sure. I wish I could have had a window. When you look at what Jack’s done, he put two or three players out and brought players in that have gone straight into the first team.

“If you’re doing that, you’re going to improve but I never had that luxury, so we’ll need to stick together.

“I have every confidence that we’ve got enough in there to win football matches to get ourselves up the league but you can’t feel sorry for yourself, you can’t be shrinking violets.

“It’s down to character, don’t be false. I can see through it, I’ve been in the game 14 years, don’t kid me on. Do what the game demands to win a football match, it’s simple.

“I’m trying to set a standard at this football club that they have to match, on the training pitch. I just keep working them but in a way that you’re still stimulating them. It has to come from these guys and it has to come from within.”