Airdrie win gives Rovers belief says Smith

Raith Rovers' boss Barry Smith (pic by Fife Photo Agency)
Raith Rovers' boss Barry Smith (pic by Fife Photo Agency)

Raith Rovers manager Barry Smith says last Saturday’s sensational win over Airdrie was down to his players’ determination.

Smith praised his team for the incredible turn around, which saw the Kirkcaldy side come back from 3-1 down with four minutes left to play to win 4-3, and said they were well worthy of the three points.

Saturday's late winner away at Airdrie sparked wild celebrations (Pic by Alan Murray)

Saturday's late winner away at Airdrie sparked wild celebrations (Pic by Alan Murray)

“The players, because of their work ethic and their desire not to give up, deserved the win,” he said.

“I don’t think there was a lot in it in the first half. The boys actually kept the ball reasonably well and had a couple of efforts at goal. Obviously we want a lot more than that,

“We said to them at half time that everybody has to take responsibility on the ball. Get on the ball and be in a position to receive it.

“I think they took that on board. If you look back at the game we certainly did better in the second half, but it wasn’t as if it was a poor first half.

“But come the end of the game there a re a lot of positives to take because we won it due to the boys’ commitment.”

The win was made even more remarkable after Rovers were forced to make changes due to injury and were also down to ten men after Iain Davidson was shown a straight red card for a needless head butt midway through the second half.

Smith said: “We lose Ross Matthews after 27 minutes, then we lose Kyle Benedictus - both to injuries - but I think if anything, it galvanised the team and made them stronger as a unit.”

As for the sending off, he said: “Iain knows it’s not acceptable. He knows what I feel about it and it’s been dealt with.”

With the feelgood factor that comes with a win – especially one as memorable as Saturday’s – there can always be a downside and in this instance Rovers will welcome Forfar to Stark’s Park on Saturday with a severely depleted side.

Smith said: We’re going to be minus a few players and we’re low on numbers.

“Iain will be suspended, Ross was taken off injured and Kyle will probably miss out.

“Kyle was taken to hospital after the match on Saturday. We thought he had fractured his eye socket.

“Thankfully he hasn’t, he got six stitches in his eye, so he is a massive doubt for Saturday.

“Lewis Vaughan is getting close, he took part in training this week, and Lewis Milne is nearly there as well, but Saturday might be too early for him.

“That’s five first team players out in a squad that is small. But it is what it is and as I said, games like Saturday galvanise a team.

“No matter what team we put out on Saturday they’ve shown what they are capable of even when we’re down to the bare bones.”

Forfar arrive sitting just one point and one place behind Rovers and Smith said they will be a difficult side to beat.

“They’ve had a couple of good results and they’ve got good players.

“John Baird I know well. He was here and I had him at Dundee. He’s a very good addition for Forfar.

“Dale Hilson and Dylan Easton will cause any team problems, so yes, it’ll be a tough game, but we have to use that strength that we used on Saturday from within to go and win the game.

“I think we’ve got a very good squad in there and it gives them that extra belief of being able to go out and do it on the pitch.”