Raith Rovers 3-1 Motherwell: Rovers boss Ian Murray says his players 'don't have an off button' after reaching Scottish Cup quarter-finals

Raith Rovers boss Ian Murray has admitted that his players ‘don’t have an off button’ after making it 12 games unbeaten as they reached the Scottish Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 2015 with a 3-1 home success over Premiership strugglers Motherwell at Stark’s Park on Saturday.
Raith manager Ian Murray celebrates going 3-1 up against Motherwell (Pics by Craig Foy/SNS Group)Raith manager Ian Murray celebrates going 3-1 up against Motherwell (Pics by Craig Foy/SNS Group)
Raith manager Ian Murray celebrates going 3-1 up against Motherwell (Pics by Craig Foy/SNS Group)

Murray’s Championship side deservedly booked a spot in Monday night’s last eight draw thanks to first half goals by Jamie Gullan (penalty), after ’Well’s Callum Slattery had handled Gullan’s shot, followed by Sam Stanton’s close range finish after a fumble by away keeper Liam Kelly.

Although Kevin van Veen’s scrappy effort past Jamie MacDonald pulled a goal back in the second half, Raith sealed it thanks to an 85th minute strike by debutant Esmael Goncalves – newly signed on loan from Livingston until the end of the season - with the ultimate result leading to the post match sacking of Motherwell manager Steven Hammell.

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“We’ve got an abundance of belief at the moment,” delighted gaffer Murray told Raith TV. “That’s been so evident in the last two or three months, not just today.

Raith's Jamie Gullan scores penalty for 1-0Raith's Jamie Gullan scores penalty for 1-0
Raith's Jamie Gullan scores penalty for 1-0

"The boys since the start of December have been remarkable, risen to every challenge we’ve set.

"They’ve risen the bar themselves in expectations with performances and that comes by doing the right things and the good things.

"I can’t speak highly enough of them. I would have been saying the same today if it hadn’t gone our way in the game because they gave everything and that’s all you can ask.

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"They don’t have an off button at the moment. When you build momentum, these runs of not losing games, the belief and character comes through.

Goal hero Esmael Goncalves celebrates after matchGoal hero Esmael Goncalves celebrates after match
Goal hero Esmael Goncalves celebrates after match

"If you don’t want to show belief and character then you get left behind quite frankly.

"All of them have stood up. Not just the boys that played. We’ve got injured boys coming on the park, they’re desperate to get in now.

"Vaughany (Lewis Vaughan obviously missed out today. He’ll obviously be delighted because he’ll hopefully be available for the next round of the Scottish Cup.

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"The superlatives to describe these lads are running out. The challenge is they’ve got to keep it up. They set the standards and demands but they have to go and carry it out.”

Sam Stanton celebrates second Rovers goal (Pic Fife Photo Agency)Sam Stanton celebrates second Rovers goal (Pic Fife Photo Agency)
Sam Stanton celebrates second Rovers goal (Pic Fife Photo Agency)

Murray said that, although Motherwell had a 15-minute period of pressure at 2-1 for Raith in the second half, his players had largely bossed the match.

"Our mental strength was excellent and I thought we ran out deserved winners,” he said.

On new signing Goncalves’ instant impact, Murray added: “Esma’s paid us back. I’m delighted for him as well because it’s given him a really good start at the club.

"It’s given him a little look at how we play as well.

Ross Millen and Aidan Connolly congratulate goalscorer Gullan (Pic Fife Photo Agency)Ross Millen and Aidan Connolly congratulate goalscorer Gullan (Pic Fife Photo Agency)
Ross Millen and Aidan Connolly congratulate goalscorer Gullan (Pic Fife Photo Agency)
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"I think you can see in flashes he’s going to be a huge asset for us with his strength, his directness and the way that he finished his goal, a proper striker.”

Raith Rovers: MacDonald, Millen, Lang, Nolan, Dick, Brown, Spencer, Connolly (McBride 75), Stanton (Ngwenya 90), Easton, Gullan (Goncalves 59).​

Motherwell: Kelly, O’Donnell (Johnston 45), Butcher, Casey, McGinn, Spittal (Aitchison 82), Slattery (Goss 90), Tierney, Danzaki (Crankshaw 45), Obika (McKinstry 45), van Veen.

Referee: Nick Walsh

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