Raith Rovers: Manager Ian Murray says match winner Lewis Vaughan would have played for Scotland were it not for ACL injuries

Lewis Vaughan in action in Friday's 4-3 home win over Partick Thistle (Pic by Fife Photo Agency)Lewis Vaughan in action in Friday's 4-3 home win over Partick Thistle (Pic by Fife Photo Agency)
Lewis Vaughan in action in Friday's 4-3 home win over Partick Thistle (Pic by Fife Photo Agency)
Raith Rovers manager Ian Murray reckons it is “phenomenal” that striker Lewis Vaughan is back in top form again and scoring goals after a career blighted by four separate ACL injuries – he returned from his fourth rehabilitation in November 2022 – which have kept him out for several months at a time.

And the Stark’s Park boss has revealed that the first time he saw Vaughan, 27 – who scored an injury time winner as Raith won 2-1 at Arbroath last night to go top of the Championship - playing over a decade ago, he thought the popular forward looked a certainty to one day star on the international football stage.

Murray told the Fife Free Press: "Take away the injuries, which is part and parcel of football, the way that he’s playing for Raith Rovers, one of the biggest compliments I can pay Lewis is that when I saw him play when he was 15 or 16 years old, I thought straight away: ‘That guy’s going to play for Scotland’.

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"And I still firmly believe that would have happened if it wasn’t for the unfortunate circumstances.

"A lot of his movement, finishing and energy were brilliant the first time I saw Lewis and he still has that.

"Lewis thinks about his finishing. The case in point was his goal against Dunfermline in the Scottish Cup (Vaughan netted Raith’s third strike with a powerful free-kick from a tight angle in a 3-0 away third round win at East End Park on November 24).

"There's not a lot of players in this league or in any league that would have tried it, never mind executed it.

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"The goalie perhaps should have done better but that’s the element of surprise.”

As Vaughan puts his previous injury nightmares behind him, the long-serving star, who has been at Raith since first signing as a youth way back in 2008, has been a key man in the Kirkcaldy side’s impressive start to the Scottish Championship campaign this season.

"I think Lewis’s current goalscoring form is made all the more impressive when you consider all his injury problems,” Murray said.

"On paper you look at it and see four ACL injuries which is bad enough.

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"I think when you actually realise how much Lewis has had to adapt his game, and adapt his game pretty quickly, it’s a phenomenal achievement getting back fit and playing. There’s not a lot of people I know that could have done that.

"Lewis has so he deserves all the press he gets, even more so when you add in the fact that he’a playing at a really decent level, he’s playing really, really well.

"If you watch some of his play in training, you never know what he’s going to do.

"I think we all just liked getting him back playing football last season which was our main priority.

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"In fairness to Lewis, he’s a very, very determined character. A very, very hungry character as well and he’s done brilliantly well.

"I saw it in training last season when we had to be careful with him, get him some game time, make sure he was all right.

"His armory of finishing in terms of variation is second to none. He deserves all the credit he’s going to get.

"For him to come back and score as many goals – not just that but his general play – has been fantastic.”

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Vaughan is in his testimonial year at Raith after so many years of loyal service and Murray acknowledged that – in this modern era of players often signing short-term contracts – such accolades can be few and far between.

“There’s not many testimonials now,” Murray said. “You don’t hear of too many.

"Now and again one or two pop up but obviously Lewis has been at Raith Rovers for a number of years now.

"He’s given the club fantastic service so it’s no more than he deserves."

Murray himself was rewarded with a testimonial match in September 2011 to mark his 10 years as a player during two spells with Hibernian. His Hibs team drew 5-5 with Hibs Legends.

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