Raith Rovers: I’m joining a club with ambition, says new boss Murray
The new Raith Rovers boss had been hoping to lead League One Airdrie in the Championship this season but with the Diamonds losing out in the play-off final, the 41-year-old says the chance to step up a division was “hugely appealing”.
"Football’s a funny game,” he said, “The disappointment I felt this time last week after losing a play-off final and then now to be looking forward to a Championship season, albeit at a new club, is exciting.
“It’s been a long journey back. Sometimes the knocks make you stronger - you deal with things differently, you gain experience and you learn from mistakes.
“I’m really looking forward to trying out my methods at a new football club that is receptive to what I was suggesting to them as well.
“I genuinely feel it will help Raith Rovers in the short-term and also in the medium term.“I was very happy at Airdrie and I emphasised throughout my time there, not just last week when I spoke to the owner.“The team we built there was fantastic and we had a very, very close relationship.
"I with them all the best, I really do and I hope they can get over the line this time and get into this league.
“It’s always a wrench to leave somewhere you enjoy working and people you enjoy working with and the players.
"They gave me everything last season and I gave them as much as they gave me; it’s a two-way thing.
“It was a wrench to leave but also exciting for myself. They fully understood that.
"The amount of messages they’ve sent me has been overwhelming.
“But my life is now at Raith Rovers and my full focus is now on Raith Rovers and the challenge of trying to get them into the play-offs, which we just missed out on last season, was probably the biggest draw for me.
Murray says one of his first tasks will be to look at his squad and speak to the players that are out of contract; Brad Spencer, Kyle Benedictus, Frankie Musonda and Reghan Tumilty.
David McKay was another whose deal had expired but the central defender has already moved on, signing for Queen of the South.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting the players,” Murray says.
"From what I’m told they’re a fantastic bunch and really close-knit. And they want to get better, which is great.
“We’re hopeful of keeping Brad
"Footballers have options and they have to take care of themselves.
“We’ll do our best to keep the players we think can keep adding to the club.
“You can’t sign everybody and you can’t keep everybody, so there will be comings and goings, but we don’t see a huge amount of change.
"It’s not a 10 in and 10 out job.
“We want players who will add value to the club and it’s quality over quantity.
“Kyle is out of contract.
"He’s played over 300 games here for Raith Rovers, he’s a natural leader on the pitch.
"I don’t know Kyle off the park because I’ve never worked with him before but we’ll speak to Kyle, of course we will, and we’ll see what’s best for everybody.”
Raith chairman, Steve MacDonald said that Murray was the stand out candidate among the applicants for the job.
"He’s a younger manager than we had here before,” he said.
"Ian has ambition and a will to succeed.
"We looked at his previous games and he seems to have a foresight and ability to look at a game and make the right changes at the right time to win it.
Speaking to him I now he’d rather go for three points than one point.
"For us it’s an exciting chance to move on from where we were. We struggled to win games last season, we had a lot of draws and what Ian said to us ticked all the boxes.
Murray, who has also managed Dumbarton and St Mirren, is hopeful that his appointment will help remove some of the bad feeling that still lingers at the club following the David Goodwillie signing back in January, saying it’s a new start for everybody.
“I walked into a football club three and a half years ago that was needing the same. Not to the extent that Raith Rovers need it.
“The past is the past as far as I’m concerned.
"Decisions were made and nobody makes decisions hoping they go wrong, certainly not.
“If we play the right football and get the right players in that can produce exciting performances, then the fans will come back.
"That happens at every level. I saw it at Airdrie last season and for us to have nearly 4,000 at a game is remarkable.
"Again, that was down to the football the players were playing, not me because I don’t play it; I just try to help them and I’m sure we can recreate that here.
“There’s a good nucleus here of a fan base and once the boys go over the white line the fans will support them.
"You’ve got to set your standards high.
"This is an opportunity to progress the football club, we want to get to the play-offs, if you sit Morton and Ayr United down and ask them they’re going to say the same.
"There’s only four spots there and we want to get one of them.
“That is our goal. We want to be one of the teams competing to get into the top division.”