Raith Rovers boss Ian Murray backing his side to inflict first defeat of season on table-toppers Ayr United

Raith Rovers manager Ian Murray watching his side play Partick Thistle at Glasgow's Firhill Park in August (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group)Raith Rovers manager Ian Murray watching his side play Partick Thistle at Glasgow's Firhill Park in August (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group)
Raith Rovers manager Ian Murray watching his side play Partick Thistle at Glasgow's Firhill Park in August (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group)
Raith Rovers aren’t daunted by weekend visitors Ayr United’s table-topping form, according to the hosts’ boss Ian Murray, as he’s confident his side are more than capable of inflicting what would be their first defeat of this Scottish Championship season.

The South Ayrshire outfit have only dropped four points so far this campaign, but that’s down to momentum and that’s something that can stop as suddenly as it starts, reckons Murray.

“It’s fine margins in games that decide how they go,” he said.

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“I was at the Queen’s Park-Ayr United game, game two of the season for them, and they were 2-0 down at half-time and won the game 3-2 and momentum’s built since then and they’ve done really, really well and won some really good games, and that’s how quickly it can turn.

“They’ve got decent forward players for sure, they’ve got excellent midfield runners, a striker that can score goals and they’re full of confidence, so we’ve got to deal with that, but we’re not daft enough, on the flip side, to think that we can’t cause them problems.

“I don’t look too much into other teams in terms of how they’re feeling. It’s more about how we are, where we are and how we’re feeling.

“We expect another really, really tough game that could be decided by one moment of poor decision-making by a player, one moment of great play by a player or a poor official’s decision. It’s that tight.”

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Murray is unconcerned about his team’s relative standing in the table, being eight points and seven league places adrift of them, at this point as there is still a long way to go, he says.

“We can get ourselves wrapped up if we want in league positions and points totals, but, at the end of the day, right now it’s irrelevant where we are,” he said.

“We’re about building a team, building a squad, building confidence and building a style of play, and it takes a long, long time to do that.

“We’re not panicking. We’re staying calm, and I think that’s the biggest thing for the players and also for the supporters.

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“Yes, we’d love to be in Ayr United’s position – we absolutely would, we’re not going to deny that – because we’d like to be top of the league, but we also understand that that’s not as easy as some people might think.

“We’ve got a young squad we’re working hard with. We’re trying to bring positivity to their game and let them make mistakes, which they’re going to do because that’s part and parcel of the game.

“I’ve got full trust in the players, full belief in them, that we’re more than capable on Saturday of winning the game if we show our quality, but if we don’t, we’re more than capable of losing, and that is the bottom line.

“As perverse as it sounds, these are really exciting times for us because we don’t know how the game’s going to go at all – there are no guarantees – but we do believe we have the quality and the players that can cause damage.”

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Murray says he’s been encouraged by the patience being shown by fans as his side’s new look line-up adjust to a different way of playing even though it’s only yielded six points from as many games so far this season.

“The supporters are very important to us. They’re very important to me and more important to the players and we want to repay them,” said the 41-year-old.

“We’re doing our absolute best to do that, and I think Raith Rovers supporters – and most football supporters – have respect for players and staff and understand football and know building can be slow.

“That’s our plan and we’ve stuck to it and I know we’ll get there eventually.

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“It’s part and parcel of building a football team that there are many, many setbacks and many, many frustrations at times, but the supporters have been brilliant, they really have, ever since we came in the door.

“I would love nothing more than to wave a magic wand and get these guys into a position where they’re competing to get into the premiership but it’s going to take us a little bit of time.

“That’s not to say we can’t do it, but it’s going to be very difficult looking at the calibre of teams within our league.

“I’m delighted the supporters are still there for us. It’s very, very easy to support a team that’s winning but you see real fans in their real colours when a club need help and support.”

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