Raith Rovers boss Ian Murray assesses reasons for alarming form dip which has seen Raith lose last five games in a row
Last Friday night’s 1-0 home SPFL Trust Trophy semi-final loss to Airdrieonians followed Scottish Championship reverses to the same North Lanarkshire opponents (1-0 away on January 6); Queen’s Park at home (2-1 on January 13) and Inverness Caledonian Thistle (3-2 in Kirkcaldy on January 27); sandwiched in between a 2-1 Scottish Cup fourth round defeat at Livingston (January 20).
"There's no doubt there's been a dip in quality within the playing staff," Murray – whose side don’t play competitively again until a home league game against Dundee United on Friday, February 16 – told RaithTV.
"And that happens, we completely understand that. Especially when things aren't going your way and you get stuck in a little rut.
"It can change quickly as well but you have to work very hard at it.
"From where I'm standing we've just lost that little bit of belief, we've become a little bit disjointed in terms of being as individuals and not as a team unit.
"That's when it comes back to the staff that one, because we have to get everybody together again and really get ourselves going.
"We need to engrain it into the players that this is a collective thing that we're trying to do here.
"We're trying to be successful but if we play as individuals and work as individuals, we're not going to win anything.
"We have to stick together, we have to really, really drum home the message that when teams come here now it's difficult.
"Because the last few games we've played here, it's not been hard for the opposition."
When asked if Raiths recent problems could be as much mentally as physically related, Murray replied: "I think it can be at times yes. I think against Airdrie we were desperate, we were hoping we were just going to get a wee goal, a wee penalty kick to get us going.
"I think the fans were hopeful as well.
"This was a really, really hard place for teams to come. You look at the scorelines, you look at the teams that have come here and the situations sometimes we've been in.
"Last season the squad was depleted but we've still made it incredibly difficult.
"Just now the players are just a wee bit under in terms of their confidence. The belief's there, but they are a wee bit worried, a wee bit scared with trepidation.
"That's human nature, I get that completely with the players. Our goal now is to build the guys back up and give them that trust and belief back in themselves, in us and their team-mates.
"And when you get that, as we've seen, anything can happen.”
Murray said he would use the days ahead of the Dundee United game to look at himself as an individual, see where he could get better and how he could help his players.