Raith Rovers manager Ian Murray credits composure for second 2-1 win at Ayr on bounce

Raith Rovers manager Ian Murray credits composure for his side’s 15th victory of the season away to Ayr United at the weekend.
Zak Rudden puts Raith Rovers 1-0 up at Ayr United (Pics by Dave Johnston)Zak Rudden puts Raith Rovers 1-0 up at Ayr United (Pics by Dave Johnston)
Zak Rudden puts Raith Rovers 1-0 up at Ayr United (Pics by Dave Johnston)

Saturday’s scoreline was a carbon copy of the Fifers’ 2-1 win last time round in South Ayrshire back in September but with different names on the scoresheet.

Back then, a Dylan Easton double in the space of three minutes earned all three points for Raith, but it was Dundee loan striker Zak Rudden’s second goal in two games with only five minutes on the clock and Lewis Vaughan’s 15th in all competitions this season just head of half-time that won the day at the weekend.

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In between those two goals, set up by assists from Josh Mullin and Rudden respectively, Roy Syla got an equaliser for new manager Scott Brown’s hosts on 11 minutes but that wasn’t enough to get the better of their visitors, captained by the ex-Celtic skipper’s namesake.

Rudden celebrates his strike at Somerset ParkRudden celebrates his strike at Somerset Park
Rudden celebrates his strike at Somerset Park

That win kept Raith within a point of Scottish Championship table-toppers Dundee United, 3-1 victors at home to Queen’s Park at the same time, with only a dozen games left to play ahead of Tuesday night’s fixture card.

“It’s a very, very hard venue and they’re a very hard team to play against,” Murray told Raith TV afterwards.

“Ayr have been on a decent run of form under Scott so we knew it was going to be hard – it’s been hard every time we’ve come here – so to come here twice in a season and pick up six points with 2-1 victories is great for us and keeps us bubbling along nicely.

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“It’s far from easy here regardless of where you are in the league, regardless of what players you’re playing against and how well the other team are doing.

Roy Syla equalises for Ayr against RaithRoy Syla equalises for Ayr against Raith
Roy Syla equalises for Ayr against Raith

“It’s nice to come here and go away with three points.”

Saturday’s win was another with only one goal, or less, in it and Murray says his side have got being cool, calm and collected after losing leads or going behind to thank for that.

“It was another single-goal game. It’s been incredible this season. That’s 24 games in the league we’ve played and all won or lost by a single goal or drawn, but that’s testament to the character of the players.

“Over the last couple of games, when our opposition have equalised, we’ve remained very, very calm, which we were doing at the start of the season but we just went away from that a little bit and went a bit gung-ho and a bit silly at times.

Lewis Vaughan chips home the Raith Rovers winner to seal three points at AyrLewis Vaughan chips home the Raith Rovers winner to seal three points at Ayr
Lewis Vaughan chips home the Raith Rovers winner to seal three points at Ayr
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“We’ve got our composure back and we relax more now when we lose a goal.

“Games are always going to be difficult, other teams are always going to get opportunities, there are always going to be moments when you don’t have the ball, but I felt today that our players’ workrate without the ball was very, very impressive.”

Ayr United: Josh Clarke, Nicholas McAllister, Frankie Musonda, Sean McGinty, Jack Sanders, Ben Dempsey, Roy Syla, Logan Chalmers, Jamie Murphy, Anton Dowds, Mark McKenzie. Subs: Charlie Albinson, Kurt Willoughby, Aiden McGeady, Paul Smith, Harry McHugh, Scott Tomlinson, Fraser Bryden.Raith Rovers: Kevin Dabrowski, James Brown, Liam Dick, Keith Watson, Lee Ashcroft, Lewis Vaughan, Dylan Easton, Josh Mullin, Sam Stanton, Scott Brown, Zak Rudden. Subs: Andrew McNeil, Dylan Corr, Scott McGill, Ross Matthews, Robbie Thomson, Aidan Connolly, Jack Hamilton, Callum Smith, Kyle Turner

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