Raith Rovers: Striker Callum Smith describes pain of watching usually deadly striking pair Gullan and Vaughan missing penalties in Pars shootout defeat

Callum Smith in action for Raith against Dunfermline (Pic by Fife Photo Agency)Callum Smith in action for Raith against Dunfermline (Pic by Fife Photo Agency)
Callum Smith in action for Raith against Dunfermline (Pic by Fife Photo Agency)
Like the rest of the squad, Raith Rovers forward Callum Smith felt the pain and cruel irony at witnessing the normally deadly striking pair of Jamie Gullan and Lewis Vaughan both crucially missing their penalties in the 4-2 Viaplay Cup home shootout defeat to arch rivals Dunfermline Athletic following a 1-1 draw in the sides’ Group F opener at Stark’s Park on Saturday evening.

After Lewis McCann put the Pars ahead with the first shootout effort, Gullan cracked Raith’s initial effort off the crossbar before strikes by Sam Fisher and Joe Chalmers for James McPake’s men – countered by goals for Aaron Arnott and Dylan Easton for Ian Murray’s team – left it at 3-2 for Dunfermline after three spot kicks each in the live televised battle.

Raith got right back into it when their keeper Kevin Dabrowski dived to his right to keep out Paul Allan’s attempt, but Vaughan then slammed his shot from 12 yards wide to leave the masked Matthew Todd to slot home the winner and celebrate in front of gutted Rovers supporters seated behind the goal.

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"We didn’t really speak about it afterwards but those two (Gullan and Vaughan) would have taken it hard missing those penalties,” Smith, who joined on a two-year deal this summer after leaving Airdrieonians, told the Fife Free Press. “Especially against your local rivals.

"They are probably the two guys that you would expect to score which wasn’t great for us.

"But you can’t blame them. They have stepped up and taken the penalties which is hard enough to do in itself.

“I wasn’t involved in the penalties. I was off at the time but it was tough to watch.

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"When you go into penalties it’s just a lottery and Dunfermline came through in the end which was obviously disappointing for us

"I felt we had some very good chances during the game and we probably had the better chances, but we just struggled to finish them off.

"We just need to move on and try and get through the group."

A fine crowd of 4,022 watched the Fife derby action and Smith relished playing in what was a lively atmosphere against their fellow Championship outfit.

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"The derbies always have a really good atmosphere,” he added.

"Especially on Saturday because it was first competitive game of the season as well. It maybe had that different edge to it.

"The atmosphere was absolutely brilliant. It was a joy to play in.

"It is great that Dunfermline are in the league, so there are four more derbies to come this season which I’m really looking forward to as well.”

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The standard of the goals was high in Saturday’s derby as well, with Lewis McCann’s brilliant shot into the far corner for Pars cancelled out by Dylan Easton’s fine solo goal.

Smith said: “Both goals were very good. We hate conceding any goal but when it’s a goal like that there’s only so much you can do, he’s done very well.

"And then obviously Dylan Easton’s goal was brilliant as well, he's chipped the goalie.”

Smith and his Raith mates continue their Viaplay Cup Group F campaign with the second game of the section at home to Albion Rovers tonight (Tuesday), with kick-off at 7.45pm.

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