Raith Rovers hope to take the shine off the Diamonds

John McGlynn looks on as Raith took on Airdrie earlier this season (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
John McGlynn looks on as Raith took on Airdrie earlier this season (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

Raith Rovers have the chance to move back to the top of the table this weekend when Airdrie are the visitors to Stark’s Park.

It’s first v second as Ian Murray brings his in-form, table topping Diamonds to Kirkcaldy to face John McGlynn’s men who sit in second just on point behind.

And it could be all change at the top of League One as third and fourth also clash when East Fife host Falkirk, who sit just above the Bayview men in third and a mere two points behind Rovers.

John McGlynn said it was a weekend for everyone connected with the club to look forward to.

“These sort of situations crop up during the season,” he said.

“For us recently it’s been a case of we’ve been going from one big game to the next, whether it’s been a Challenge Cup quarter final, Scottish Cup tie, or away from home to a very in-form Montrose team.

“Now we hit Airdrie who are the league’s in-form team with six wins in a row and have got themselves to the top of the table.

“It’s very tight and these games this weekend may see it all change again on Saturday.

“Just by the very nature of it being so close it could change over a few Saturdays as we go along.

“We’ve got Falkirk the following week but, of course, all our focus and concentration is on this weekend’s game.

“It’s good for the league and it’s good for the fans. December isn’t a great month for getting attendances because there’s Christmas shopping and all that, but I think with Airdrie being top of the table they might bring a few more fans through to add to the crowd and the atmosphere.

“We had a fairly decent record against Airdrie last year and we won through there earlier this season. But they’re playing better now and with confidence.

“Also their team selection is quite simple for them. They’re not carrying any injuries and, in their last six games, they’ve had the same starting XI in four of them and in the other two they only had one change.

“It does help when you have consistency in selection.

“With the injuries we have you’re chopping and changing all the time.

“So yes, it’s an interesting week, but it certainly won’t decide anything.”

McGlynn says such a match should be all the motivation his players need to be at their very best.

“Our home record is very good and Airdrie away from home are good so it’s going to be one of those games.

“It’s first v second so the players motivation will be to play well, win the game, get back to the top of the table and consolidate it.

“But it won’t just happen, we’ll need to work our socks off to win the game. Airdrie are dangerous and their front three are dangerous.

“They’ve got pace and they’ve been scoring goals so we’ll need to make sure we’re ready for that but we need to try and cause them a few problems as well.

“With the form that Airdrie are in we’ll need to be at our best, defend well and try to attack well. If we can put these things together then hopefully we’ll be at the top of the table come 5 o’clock on Saturday night.”

Rovers go into the match with renewed optimism after last weekend’s 1-0 away win at Montrose.

Following a stuffy first half the introduction of second half substitutes Grant Anderson, Tony Dingwall and Dan Anderson gave Rovers a much needed shot in the arm and McGlynn said all three worked their way into his thoughts as he plans his starting XI for Saturday.

“Steven Anderson went off injured so we had to change but we were going to do it anyway because the first half didn’t work,” said the boss.

“The three of them are all very skilful players and they gave us a directness.

“They helped us to drive forward with a bit of pace, worked hard and created a few problems for Montrose.

“There’s absolutely no doubt that they’re in with a chance of starting this Saturday.

“Myself and Paul [Smith, assistant manager] looked over the team from last weekend and they’ve all done themselves the world of good.”