Raith Rovers boss John McGlynn says pressure is on Queens ahead of play-off showdown

Raith Rovers manager John McGlynn guided his team to a 3-2 aggregate play-off semi-final win over Forfar Athletic. Pic: Fife Photo Agency
Raith Rovers manager John McGlynn guided his team to a 3-2 aggregate play-off semi-final win over Forfar Athletic. Pic: Fife Photo Agency

Raith Rovers boss John McGlynn hopes to take advantage of any relegation fear among the opposition as his side prepare to face Queen of the South for a place in the Championship.

While there is plenty at stake for both sides, McGlynn believes a "negative pressure" is on the Dumfries side ahead of tonight's play-off final first leg at Stark's Park as the visitors look to avoid the drop to League One and the potential cut backs that might follow.

The Kirkcaldy outfit has first hand experience of the financial damage relegation can cause having suffered a £400,000 loss in League One last season, with talk of possible part-time football should the club remain in the third tier for another season.

"Rovers were in the same situation two years ago when they go up to Brechin and they're thinking negatively about, 'if we go down there's going to be cuts'," McGlynn said.

"That will be in the minds of the Queen of the South directors and players alike, and that fear can be overwhelming.

"That's a negative pressure whereas we're very much looking at it positively of what a difference it could make to us if we can get to the Championship.

"We've got to try to make as much as that as we possibly can."

Queens come to Stark's Park under new management with Alan Johnston having replaced Gary Naysmith after a 3-0 home defeat to Partick Thistle on the final day of the season condemned the side to the play-offs.

Johnston's first match in charge was a 2-1 defeat at Montrose in the play-off semi-final first leg, however, his players recovered with a convincing 5-0 win in the second leg.

"The board of directors at Queen of the South have probably looked at this as their last throw of the dice," McGlynn said.

"They've brought in a fresh face, a fresh voice, and one that's different from previous when you maybe get in a wee rut and negativity is all you've got to look at.

"It will be two cup finals, and we go into the game now with a lot of confidence.

"We've been winning a lot more games than they have over the last quarter of the season, we're on a decent run, and we've got as full strength a squad as we can possibly have, without the three long-term casualties.

"We had a strong bench at the weekend so we can change things, and we can change formation going into this game as well.

"We don't need to stick to one thing now. The system in the last two games was purposely meant for Forfar. We planned for weeks for that and got rewards.

"We can now look at Queens and put something in place that hopefully, over the two legs, will also see us through."

Having restricted Forfar to few opportunities in their 3-2 aggregate play-off semi-final win, the Rovers defence now face Queen's record-breaking goalscorer Stephen Dobbie, who struck a first half hat-trick against Montrose to take his tally for the season to 43.

McGlynn admits that stopping the 32-year-old former English Premiership front man will be key to Rovers' promotion chances.

"It would be easy for everyone to think that becuase he scores most of their goals, and when he's not in the team it's clear how much they miss him," he said.

"There's has to be an element of that, but we have to be respectful of the whole Queens team.

"Without the other players, it's obvious he cannot score the goals if they can't supply him with it, so sometimes you have to go back to the soruce and stop that.

"We have to play our own game, and see where we can hurt Queens. Yes, how can we stop Dobbie but how can we implement our game onto then, and cause them problems."