Raith Rovers: Midfield ace Sam Stanton blasts red card challenge by Accies defender Dan O'Reilly in cup final

Dan O'Reilly is shown a red card by referee Colin Duncan for a foul on Sam Stanton during SPFL Trust Trophy final (Pic Craig Foy/SNS Group)Dan O'Reilly is shown a red card by referee Colin Duncan for a foul on Sam Stanton during SPFL Trust Trophy final (Pic Craig Foy/SNS Group)
Dan O'Reilly is shown a red card by referee Colin Duncan for a foul on Sam Stanton during SPFL Trust Trophy final (Pic Craig Foy/SNS Group)
Raith Rovers ace Sam Stanton has revealed that he is still suffering eye pain a few days after the “very late” challenge by Dan O’Reilly which saw the Accies defender sent off after 55 minutes of Sunday’s SPFL Trust Trophy final.

O’Reilly was shown a straight red card by referee Colin Steven after smashing into ex-Dundalk midfielder Stanton, 28, near the halfway line in the Falkirk Stadium showpiece, but Accies held the lead given to them by Reghan Tumilty’s earlier strike to win 1-0.

“I thought it was a red card,” Stanton told the Fife Free Press. “I’ve watched it back and the boy hits me with his hand.

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"He said at the time he’d hit me with his body. I can't remember.

"I just remember feeling the side of my eye and obviously my eye is still a bit sore now.

"If he doesn’t catch me I’m potentially through on goal anyway. I think he was very late regardless of whether it was an arm or whatever it was.

"It’s never nice to lose a final, it was deflating.”

Raith had been hot favourites to defeat Accies having seen them off in three Championship clashes earlier this season, but it wasn’t to be for the defending cup holders who paid for a slow start to the match.

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"I didn’t go into the game thinking we were definitely going to beat Hamilton,” Stanton added.

"They are a good team who have picked up a few good results, especially recently.

"They didn’t start the season well but they are much better now.

"I don’t know what was up with us in the first half. I wish I knew the answer. Sometimes it happens in football.

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"We came out in the second half and were by far the better team but we didn’t manage to get the goals.

"I think if we’d gone in 0-0 at half-time then not much would have been said about the first half.

"We just weren’t quite as good as we normally are but that can happen.

"We’ve had other games this season where that’s happened, it happens to most teams at this sort of level.

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"We can have weeks where we’re not as good as other weeks unfortunately. It was just a bad time for it to happen.”

On the outstanding display of Accies goalkeeper Ryan Fulton in the final, Stanton added: "Their goalkeeper was really good.

"He played really well, made some great saves.

"It was just one of those days for us and for him. Well done to him.

"The save he made from my left footed shot was probably one you’d expect him to make but he did have a few very, very good ones.”

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Seventh-placed Raith can cut the current seven-point gap to fourth placed Partick Thistle by winning their next two games - home clashes with Queen’s Park on Saturday (kick-off 3pm) and Hamilton Accies on Tuesday (kick-off 7.45pm) – and Stanton is relishing the challenge of trying to get into the play-offs.

"We just want to win as many games as we possibly can and we’ll see where we end up,” he added.

"We obviously all want to be in the play-offs and we’ll do everything we can to try and get in there. But we know how difficult the league is.

"I think realistically we need to win nearly all of the eight games left to be in with a chance of reaching the play-offs. They are all important games now.

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"One thing about football is you can’t let results like the one we had on Sunday stay with you and linger with you for too long because there’s always another game coming up.

"So we just need to prepare as normal and get over it.

"Unfortunately we lost that final but fair play to Hamilton and we’ll just concentrate on the league again now.”

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