Raith goalie aims to repeat play-off heroics against Hibs
Raith Rovers goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert has got the T-shirt when it comes to winning promotion through the play-offs.
The 33-year-old was part of the Hamilton Accies side who made it to the Premiership after overcoming both Falkirk and Hibs in 2014.
Now facing up to the same opposition again, only this time with an extra two games thrown in for good measure, Cuthbert is hoping he can repeat the feat with Raith.
“We finished second with Hamilton that year so we only had four games instead of six,” he said.
“We felt we did ourselves justice in the play-offs because we were the best team in the league that season as far as we were concerned.
“We were nip and tuck with Dundee all season, and it was one of those situations where we felt as if we’d thrown it away.
“But it all worked out in the end because the play-offs were a great experience and my best day in football was the second leg of the final at Easter Road.
“Now I want to try and recreate that with Raith.
“I never thought it would happen again, but here we are, and it could.
“Some of the boys here have won championships, but winning promotion in a cup fashion like that, there’s no better feeling.”
Cuthbert was the hero in the 2014 second leg as Hamilton recovered from a 2-0 first leg defeat to force extra-time and penalties at Easter Road, where he saved twice in the shoot-out to send his side up, and put Hibs down.
“When we faced Hibs it was just a terrified team,” he said.
“They got a 2-0 lead but it worked in our favour because when we scored first at Easter Road they were so worried about losing that second goal that they were happy to take a 1-0 defeat.
“We were the team going to try and win the game in normal time and in extra time.
“The secret was that we had young boys with no fear. If you’re fearful or worried about what might happen if things don’t go your way, that’s when you go wrong.
“You’ve just got to give your best shot and whatever happens, happens.”
Cuthbert believes that Raith have the same advantages Hamilton did - they fear no-one, are playing with confidence, and nobody expects them to go up.
“The other teams have everything to lose - Hibs need to get up - whereas we’re going into it with no pressure,” he said.
“We’re not even bothered who we’re taking on because we’ll fancy our chances against anybody.
“Whoever we’re playing, they know they’ll have to be at their best to beat us and that’s such a great thing for us to have.
“We’re not being arrogant, but we’re not overawed by anybody.”
Cuthbert also feels that manager Ray McKinnon’s recent squad rotation policy could provide Raith with an edge.
“We’re all fresh, and I don’t think anyone is looking leggy or in need of a break,” he said.
“Everyone is raring to go. There’s potentially six games but everyone is ready and waiting for it to happen.
“It’s just a case of keep doing what we’ve been doing, not being worried, and trying to do our best.”