Raith Rovers: Boss Ian Murray says 'it's always difficult moving clubs' amid reports he is favourite to take Dundee job

After a leading bookmaker suspended betting on him becoming the next manager of Dundee ahead of their return to the Scottish Premiership, Raith Rovers boss Ian Murray has revealed his affection for the Kirkcaldy outfit and the difficulties he could face when choosing whether or not to move on.
Dundee have approached Raith Rovers for permission to speak to Ian Murray (Pic Fife Photo Agency)Dundee have approached Raith Rovers for permission to speak to Ian Murray (Pic Fife Photo Agency)
Dundee have approached Raith Rovers for permission to speak to Ian Murray (Pic Fife Photo Agency)

Since leaving League One outfit Airdrieonians to join Raith last summer, Murray, 42, has forged a fine reputation in management, reaching the Scottish Cup quarter-finals and SPFL Trust Trophy final during a season which also featured a 14-game unbeaten run and a seventh place Scottish Championship finish despite having several injuries to key players.

This has impressed Dundee, with The Scotsman reporting the top flight new boys have approached Raith for permission to speak to Murray, who is on a four-man shortlist to replace Bowyer.

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"Raith Rovers is a wonderful club,” Murray, who has also previously managed Dumbarton and St Mirren, told the Fife Free Press. “I’ve been very fortunate in my career that the majority of the clubs I’ve been at have been excellent. I can’t speak highly enough of everybody. I’ve really enjoyed it so far.

"It’s always difficult moving clubs like I did last season at Airdrie, where they make you feel welcome.

"I loved my time at Airdrie, I loved working with the owners and the boys.

"But I’ve been here as a player, a coach and a manager and you have to make decisions sometimes.

"Sometimes there’s no decisions to be made.

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"That’s the nature of the business we’re in unfortunately. It changes so quickly, the turnaround in personnel at every football club’s just massive, longevity’s not a huge thing.”

Despite the strong link to a Dens Park move, Murray insisted that just now he remains 100% focused on his gig at Stark’s Park.

“Absolutely I am working hard on signing new players for Raith,” he said. “Not for one minute does your eye go off the ball.

“You work hard, you try to get the players you want in, make the place better, make sure you’re ready for pre-season and generally just get on with your job, that’s the least you can do. I’m fortunate enough to be in a managerial position so you do your best.”

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The irony of Murray’s possible imminent departure to Dundee – looking for a new gaffer after Gary Bowyer’s departure – is that things are finally looking far more settled upstairs at Raith with a new board recently taking ownership of the club after months of speculation.

Murray said: “Obviously there’s been a lot of change internally at the club. It’s been brilliant for Raith to get a little bit of investment.

"But it’s more about the environment we’re trying to create, with the right people around it.

"And I think the board is excellent, it’s a really strong board when you look at the people as individuals in their specialities and then as a collective.

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"Keeping Aidan Connolly, keeping Scott McGill and Dylan Corr coming in, it’s looking strong that’s for sure.”

The most painful experience of Murray’s managerial career so far came at St Mirren back in the 2015-16 season, when – having left Dumbarton to make the step up – he resigned after just four months of Saints’ Scottish Championship campaign.

When asked if that experience had made him wary of taking over the reins of a ‘bigger’ club, Murray added: “Not really. Everybody takes a hit at some point in their career, I took mine pretty quickly.

"At the time you feel pretty rubbish and down but in hindsight and as time goes by you need it.

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"Because I don’t think there’s been any manager that goes through a career without taking that sort of decision on him.

"You learn from it, that’s the main thing. You try and pick up wee bits and bobs everywhere you are.”

The speculation about Murray leaving for Dens Park has arisen after Dundee’s first choice replacement manager Callum Davidson pulled out of the running last week after talks broke down.

Murray, who has also previously been an assistant manager at Norwegian club Asker, has a year left on his Raith contract.

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His time in charge of Airdrieonians included back-to-back Championship play-off finals in 2020–21 and 2021–22, but his side fell at the last hurdle both times against Greenock Morton and Queen's Park respectively.