Raith Rovers relish Partick Thistle challenge in live cup clash

John McGlynn says his team will give their all in this Friday’s Scottish Challenge Cup semi-final.

Thursday, 13th February 2020, 9:58 am
Raith boss John McGlynn (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

Raith Rovers will travel to Firhill to take on Partick Thistle in a match which will be televised live on BBC Alba and the Stark’s Park boss says although the priority this season is promotion from League One, he is delighted to see his side is just 90 minutes away from a cup final.

“We’re happy that we’re fighting on both fronts, in the Challenge Cup and in the league,” he said.

“It’s a bit of pressure off from the league to be in the cup and it’s a semi-final.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Raith's Regan Hendry and Stranraer's Connor McManus (Pic: Bill McCandlish)

“It’s a good chance to get to a final and obviously against a team from the league above us, the Championship, it’s going to be difficult, but, I think we’ve got a decent chance in the game.

“It’s one to look forward to. The club did well when they won this cup in the past against Rangers and we’ve done well to get this far.

“We’re going to go there and give it our best shot.

Partick are currently sitting rock bottom of the Championship so McGlynn says he is anticipating a close match.

“They’re obviously sitting bottom at the moment. Normally with the bottom team of the league above and top of the league below there’s not an awful lot in it.

“Ian McCall didn’t start the season there but he’s gone in there and he’s brought a lot of players during the January window, so he’s maybe still trying to find his best 11 whilst they find their feet.”

“It’s obviously not quite happened yet because they would have wanted to pick up a few more points in the league.

“Having got beaten last week by Dundee, which is a difficult game anyway, they will want to put things right and kick their league form on.

“So they’ll be looking at this as a game at home with the potential to build some confidence by getting a result.

“Obviously we respect every opposition but we’ve got to go there and play our game. We are definitely looking to try and get to a cup final. We’ve come this far, we want to give it our best shot.

“It speaks volumes for the work that’s been done that we have the chance to get to a cup final.

“It’s going to be on television so that gives us a wider audience so we hope we can go on the night and play our game and show how well we’ve been playing all season.

“Hopefully the conditions will be good, they’re not so great at the moment, but I hope by the time Friday comes it will have calmed down, it’s a decent playing surface and we get the chance to show what we can.”

McGlynn knows all about playing in adverse conditions after last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Stranraer, a match he says should not have been played.

“I don’t think it’s football,” he said.

“I think you have to have a chance to play football and I don’t think there was, so from my point of view I don’t think it should have gone ahead because it’s basically a lottery.

“It becomes a game of luck and I don’t think football is meant to be like that, however, I’ve been on this planet for 58 years and been involved in many games when the weather has been really bad and the attitude is that you just get on with it.

“But if you’re looking to give yourself the best chance to perform and produce something for people to watch then you wouldn’t do it in those conditions, that’s for sure.”

With the final third of the season to come, McGlynn feels he has the right squad to make a last push for promotion.

“We have got a good mix,” he said.

“There are players that have won leagues and players that are desperate to win leagues.

“That’s good, because you need people who have experienced it and you need people who are hungry for success and I think that’s where we are.

“We’ve got guys who want to savour that again and those who want to savour it for the first time.

“Nothing changes though, it’ll be every bit as difficult in the last 12 games as it has been in the previous 24 games. If you look at the table it will suggest that we’ve been the most consistent team over the last 24 games.

“I hope over the next 12 games it still shows that we’ve been the most consistent team and everybody who is Raith Rovers-minded will be very happy.

“But, there are a lot of hard games to come, like the game last Saturday. I cannot understand how Stranraer have only got 15 points.

“Every time we play them we get a very difficult game and they show they’re a far better team than one that only has 15 points on the board.

“We’re 31 points ahead of them. That would suggest that we should be winning convincingly, but that’s not the case, so there’s going to be more games like that.

“Teams at the bottom are going to be fighting for their lives, teams in mid-table are trying to get into a play-off position, there are teams wanting to stay there and there are teams wanting to win the league.

“In a 10-team league, everybody is fighting for something and as usual there will be a few twists and turns before the end of the season.”