Raith Rovers aim to finish year with derby win over East Fife
Raith Rovers are aiming for their first Fife derby win of the season at the third attempt on Saturday.
The Kirkcaldy side lost their 30-year unbeaten record against East Fife in a last-minute defeat at Bayview in November, a result which sparked wild celebrations in Methil.
It followed a 2-2 draw at Stark’s Park in August, but with five wins in their last six, and after inflicting a first league defeat of the season on Arbroath last week, Raith go into their last game of the year high in confidence.
Rovers boss John McGlynn said: “The game at Bayview wasn’t that long ago so it’s still fresh in the mind.
“It was a sore one and we need to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“As I’ve said to the players, there’s no point doing what we did against Arbroath, then coming a cropper against East Fife in the derby.
“We’ve got to match that determination, desire and mentality we showed against Arbroath and take all the confidence and positives into the game.
“We’re still a massive scalp for East Fife so we need to be prepared for that, play our football, take our chances and build on the result in Arbroath.
“We’re in good form with five wins out of six and we just want to keep playing well and winning.”
With players returning from injury - only Regan Hendry remains sidelined going into the new year - McGlynn hopes competition for places will prove vital in the second half of the campaign.
McGlynn also stressed that big players such as Lewis Vaughan may need to be patient as they look to win back a starting place in a winning team.
“Lewis is just back from 10 weeks out and he’s now had a couple of introductions off the bench,” he said.
“He is such a good football player and it’s great to have him back.
“There’s no doubting his ability and what he brings to the team.
“I know that more than most because I was the one who signed him way back, and I respect Lewis and hold him the highest esteem.
“But the way I work is trying to be fair to everyone, then everyone knows where they stand.
“If the team is doing quite well then a player wouldn’t expect to get thrown out – they know then if they go in and do well they stay in.
“There’s good competition now, and if you want to succeed, that’s what you need to have.
“We’ve got half a season to go, 18 games, and we’re going to need every single player we’ve got, and everyone firing on all cylinders.
“In any other season the points we’ve got would be good enough to be right up there, not 10 points behind.
“I feel there’s points we can pick up in the second half of the season that we didn’t in the first half.
“We’ll certainly need to do that if we’re going to catch Arbroath, but I think we can do that.
“This was a new team put together in the summer, people have had to find their feet, with a change of manager, so there’s been one or two wee hiccups, but I feel we’re getting there.
“We need to go and prove that again on Saturday.”
McGlynn also revealed that Raith are still awaiting an answer from winger Daniel Armstrong relating to the offer of a contract extension beyond his current deal, which expires after the Scottish Cup game against Dunfermline on January 19.
“We’ve matched his demands and we’re waiting on his agent saying yes,” McGlynn said.
“He’s playing the best football of his life, and he’s won us games.
“Getting that first goal on Saturday was vital.
“He has everything, and he’s looking to get the best for himself.
“We would look on that as staying here, getting another 18 games under his belt, and building up his career that way, rather than looking for big bucks that maybe take you forward with regards what’s in your pocket, but maybe not in terms of your career.
“We’re desperate to keep him, but will we? I don’t know.”