Raith Rovers: After Daniel O'Reilly leaves to join Championship rivals Partick Thistle, Rovers hope that Keith Watson could soon return to squad

With short-term signing Daniel O’Reilly rejecting the chance to pen a new Raith Rovers deal on Tuesday evening to join Scottish Championship rivals Partick Thistle on an 18-month contract, the table-topping Kirkcaldy outfit may have suffered a big blow in their title bid.
Keith Watson celebrates Raith's 1-0 league win at Dunfermline Athletic on August 26 (Pic by Eddie Doig)Keith Watson celebrates Raith's 1-0 league win at Dunfermline Athletic on August 26 (Pic by Eddie Doig)
Keith Watson celebrates Raith's 1-0 league win at Dunfermline Athletic on August 26 (Pic by Eddie Doig)

However, life can frequently be a case of ‘when one door closes another one opens’ and the Fife Free Press can reveal that O’Reilly’s fellow centre-back Keith Watson, out with a left knee problem since departing Raith’s 1-0 league defeat at Airdrieonians on September 23, appears to be close to making his long-awaited return.

"Keith has done his comeback," Rovers assistant boss Colin Cameron told us. "He's been training for the last couple of weeks fully so we're hoping that he maintains that and continues that progress.

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"Hopefully in the not too distant future we see him back involved again.

"We can't really put a timescale on that because it's really down to fitness levels and whether or not the manager feels that he's at a level where he can be back in amongst the squad on a matchday.

"It would be an ideal world if Keith came back in just after Dan leaving. But you know football doesn't work that way.”

Watson’s reappearance in a Rovers jersey would be welcomed by the Kirkcaldy side’s fans, with the 33-year-old former Ross County defender’s absence meaning that midfielder Scott Brown was moved back to a central defensive berth before O’Reilly’s arrival in November.

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After joining Partick, Irish stopper O’Reilly, 28, who made six appearances and scored three goals during his brief stint in Kirkcaldy, told JagZone: “I had some positive conversations with the manager (Thistle boss Kris Doolan) in the summer.

"For whatever reason it just didn’t materialise but we’ve been in contact the last few days and the move’s come about really, really quickly. I’m delighted to be here. I know how big a club it is and it’s a club going in the right direction.

"As you can see from the league position, they’re right up there and a lot can happen in half a season. I’m hoping I can make an impact here and have a positive start.”