Raith Rovers players praised for following John McGlynn gameplan to beat Forfar

John McGlynn embraces goalscorer Kevin Nisbet after the game. Pic - Fife Photo Agency
John McGlynn embraces goalscorer Kevin Nisbet after the game. Pic - Fife Photo Agency

Raith Rovers boss John McGlynn hailed his players for carrying out his gameplan to the letter in the play-off victory over Forfar Athletic.

The 57-year-old admitted he took a risk by changing his formation to a 3-5-2 for the two most important matches of the season but it proved a masterstroke as Rovers emerged victorious over a Forfar side who beat them twice during the season and finished above them in the table.

McGlynn said: “I’ve got to give the players great credit because, while we’ve played a number of different formations during the season, everything was in front of a back four.

“So to make that change was a gamble, but at the same time, I knew that with the players we had there, we would get everything out of them.

“I knew we would be focused and hard to beat in that formation, and that’s exactly what they delivered.

“As a coach, all you can ask is for the team to carry out your plan and they did.

“Going to a back three can be a difficult change for players, but our guys took it on board, and I congratulate them on carrying out the plan expertly.”

Having taken just four points from Forfar all season McGlynn admitted he spent hours on the training pitch working on a system to overcome them.

“Forfar have been difficult opponents, certainly in my time here,” he said.

“We’ve had three very close games and managed to lose two of them, when we don’t feel we deserved to lose them, but we had to do something different to make sure we didn’t lose these games.

“In previous games, I felt we’ve been punished for mistakes. We made less mistakes and if we did we had cover to rectify it.

“That’s exactly what we tried to do and over the two games it definitely worked.”

Rovers gameplan was viewed by some as a negative approach but after a season where open football has not been matched by positive results, McGlynn made no apologies for winning ugly.

“In cup tie football getting through is absolutely everything,” he said.

“We’ve entertained all season and played some attractive football and where has it got us? Into the play-offs.

“This is winning football, although we try to play winning football every week, but also attractive.

“We’re second top goalscorers in Scottish football – only Rangers have scored more than us – and that tells you everything about our team.

“We try to attack and score goals, however, the league table will tell you that’s not been enough to win a league, so reflecting on it, we may not have been as attack-minded, but it was designed to get the job done against a particular type of opponent.

“We worked on something to make sure we weren’t going to give up goals where we get our pocket pinched against a team set up to force us to play into bad situations, lose the ball and get hit.

“We played exactly not to do that and, on the whole, we did it very well.”

McGlynn also praised his players for keeping their discipline in the latter stages of the game as Forfar became frustrated and tackles started to fly in.

“It was a feisty game, it was always going to be,” McGlynn added. “We expected that because there was so much at stake.

“Forfar have had a great second half of season, they were the in-form team, they had a lot of confidence, and deep down, I think they thought they were going to beat us.

“When that doesn’t happen, sometimes you react, but fair play to our guys.

“They didn’t get caught up in it, but at the same time stood up for themselves, weren’t bullied and didn’t crumble.

“They certainly showed a good mentality and that side of things has been improving. We’ve got to make sure that continues to improve over the next two games.”