Raith Rovers lose top spot to Dundee United after first loss of season
Only a single goal separated Raith manager Ian Murray’s current club from his previous one at Airdrie’s Excelsior Stadium but Calum Gallagher’s 73rd-minute strike was enough to keep up his side’s 100% home record in the Scottish Championship this season and topple the Fifers from the top of the table.
The 29-year-old’s match-winner was one of only three shots on target for manager Rhys McCabe’s hosts, half their visitors’ tally of six.
The Kirkcaldy club, on 13 points from six fixtures, have dropped to second place following their first loss of this campaign and now trail Dundee United, 1-0 victors at Caley at the weekend, by a point ahead of a trip to eighth-placed Ayr United this coming Saturday, with kick-off at Somerset Park at 3pm.
Murray, manager at Airdrie from 2018 to 2022, reckons Rovers were unlucky to leave his old workplace empty-handed even if they fell a long way short of being worthy of all three points, telling Raith TV afterwards: “I didn’t feel we deserved to lose but I also felt, on the other side, that we didn’t play particularly well and that’s the biggest disappointment as you can still play really well and lose a game and that’s football.
“We huffed and puffed a little bit. We had the better chances in the game.
“For the first 25 to 30 minutes, Airdrie were the better side, but after that, I felt that we took full control of the game.
“I wouldn’t say it was sucker-punch goal from Airdrie but it was real sore one for us, and after that, we couldn’t find a way through.
“We just need to use this week in training to dust ourselves down a little bit, get our mojo back, get our basics done a little bit better, find or rhythm again and then move on.”
Reviewing Saturday’s defeat on the road, the 42-year-old added: “We hit the post when it looked as if it was in the back of the net and we probably should have had at least one penalty in the first half but those are the breaks you get in football unfortunately and they’re not the reasons we didn’t win.
“We still had plenty of opportunity and plenty of time after those to try to find a goal but we didn’t really trouble their goalkeeper too much.
“We just lacked that wee bit in front of goal. Our combination play was a little bit one-dimensional, so that’s something we have to go away and work on.
“We need to have a wee look at a few things – formations and maybe getting more players in attacking areas – as I just feel this result had been coming for the last couple of weeks.
“I didn’t feel we played particularly well against Cliftonville, and I didn’t think we played particularly well last week, and in this league it’s really, really tight so any three points are valuable.
“We want to be competing at the top end of the league. Standards and demands have gone up in the dressing room and they’ve got to keep going up. We need to be better.”