Raith Rovers boss John McGlynn says League One promotion race is wide open

07-09-2019. Picture Michael Gillen. KIRKCALDY. Stark's Park. Raith Rovers FC v Falkirk FC. Tunnock's Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup 3rd Round. Scottish Challenge Cup 3rd Round. John McGlynn.
07-09-2019. Picture Michael Gillen. KIRKCALDY. Stark's Park. Raith Rovers FC v Falkirk FC. Tunnock's Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup 3rd Round. Scottish Challenge Cup 3rd Round. John McGlynn.

Raith Rovers boss John McGlynn believes the League One promotion race is wide open this season after his side were knocked off top spot by East Fife at the weekend.

While Rovers were producing one of their most impressive performances of the season in knocking Falkirk out of the Challenge Cup, their derby rivals were also collecting a notable three points in Forfar that took them above the Kirkcaldy side to the top of the standings.

Only four points separate the top seven sides after five games played, and McGlynn is anticipating a close battle for both the league title and play-off places.

“This league is open for anyone,” he told the Press. “Who would’ve thought after the first two games that Dumbarton would be up there sitting on nine points?

“There will be a number of twists and turns, and while it was a good win for East Fife to go up to Forfar and come back from a goal down, it’s still so, so early to be talking about the table.

“East Fife will have ups an downs just as much as anyone. There are so many results contradicting each other there’s virtually no form at the moment.

“There are only two points in it, and by Saturday at ten to five it could all swing around again.”

Raith host Peterhead on Saturday then it’s back-to-back away games against Airdrie and Forfar, before Falkirk return to Stark’s Park on league duty to complete the first quarter on October 5.

“You’ve got to get over the first quarter and see where you are,” McGlynn said. “It certainly won’t decide the league, but it might show a little bit of a pattern – but only that.”

With Kieron Bowie’s ankle injury not as bad as first feared, and Iain Davidson’s hamstring just a minor strain, both are in contention to make the squad for the Peterhead match.

Tony Dingwall played 45 minutes in a bounce game on Tuesday – his first action of the season after undergoing ankle surgery at the end of last term – and he may make the bench.

Joao Victoria is also nearing a return, with Lewis Vaughan in line to start after making his comeback from the bench last weekend, along with on-loan St Johnstone defender Steven Anderson.

“There has been a lot of anticipation for myself just waiting on Lewis getting back on the pitch,” McGlynn said. “You don’t know what you’re missing until he comes back and just lifts the standard and quality of training. He had a massive impact in a very short period of time, and he raised the spirits of the whole stadium.

“Lewis is now due a break as a person and a football player with no injuries. Touch wood, he gets that and can be available for us for the rest of the season.”

McGlynn has warned his players against showing any complacency against a Peterhead side who were comprehensively beaten at Stark’s Park in the Betfred Cup in July.

“We played very well that night,” he said. “No doubt Peterhead would have learned from us, and Jim McInally was at the game on Saturday so he may have learned a little bit more.

“Our home form is very good but we can’t take that for granted and just rely on it.

“We have to continue it by earning the right to play which means winning our individual battles all over the pitch, which will then get us the ball, and then we know we can play and create chances.”

Returnee John Baird won’t be in the squad as he doesn’t arrive back from Australia until Monday.