Raith Rovers: Striker Callum Smith recounts 'surreal' events of facing brother Connor in two consecutive Championship play-off finals

Raith Rovers striker Callum Smith, 23, has been assessing the "surreal" nature of having faced off against brother Connor, 21, in each of the last two seasons' Scottish Championship play-off finals.
Connor Smith (left) and Istanbul’s Hasan Ali Kaldirim during a UEFA Europa Conference League match last November (Pic Mark Scates/SNS Group)Connor Smith (left) and Istanbul’s Hasan Ali Kaldirim during a UEFA Europa Conference League match last November (Pic Mark Scates/SNS Group)
Connor Smith (left) and Istanbul’s Hasan Ali Kaldirim during a UEFA Europa Conference League match last November (Pic Mark Scates/SNS Group)

In 2021-22, Connor's Queen's Park - where he was on loan from Hearts - saw off Callum's Airdrieonians 3-2 on aggregate to reach the second tier. But the older sibling got his revenge a year later when Airdrieonians saw off Hamilton Accies 6-5 on penalties after a 2-2 aggregate draw to go up, while Accies went down to League One.

Watching all this drama unfold from the stands were Callum and Connor's mum and dad Lisa and Barry, Callum's girlfriend Millie and their child Ollie, 1, plus Connor's girlfriend Beth.

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"It's an incredible statistic that we've played against each other in those two finals," Callum, who joined Raith on a two-year deal this summer, told the Fife Free Press. "It's crazy that it happened two years in a row.

Callum Smith (third right) and his Airdrieonians mates came through the Championship play-offs last season (Pic Michael Gillen)Callum Smith (third right) and his Airdrieonians mates came through the Championship play-offs last season (Pic Michael Gillen)
Callum Smith (third right) and his Airdrieonians mates came through the Championship play-offs last season (Pic Michael Gillen)

"I've never heard of something like that happening before. But in the lead up to both games there was always quite big press coverage for it because it is rare to happen.

"Before the finals Connor and I never really spoke about the games because we knew it was going to be heartbreaking for one of us.

"The first time he won and the second time I won which has balanced it out and it's good for the family. Obviously we were both happy for each other but at the same time we weren't. It was mixed emotions.

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"It was just a surreal moment that it happened twice and not many brothers will do that in their lives.

"Most of the family were there watching those ties. They went to both home grounds, sitting in the home end at all the games just to make it fair.

"They were quite happy with both outcomes because obviously we've got one each on each other which is fair for the family."

While Callum looks like being a regular starter for Raith under Ian Murray this season, Connor is bidding to get into the Hearts first team picture having been loaned out to five different clubs, culminating in Accies last season, since 2019.