Ellis keen to have role at ‘new-look’ Raith

Laurie Ellis (right) leaves the dugout with Grant Murray after last Saturday's home defeat to Livingston, which proved to be Murray's last match in charge
Laurie Ellis (right) leaves the dugout with Grant Murray after last Saturday's home defeat to Livingston, which proved to be Murray's last match in charge
  • Head coach pays tribute to outgoing manager Murray
  • Says he wants to stay on at Raith Rovers
  • Team will be looking to finish the season with a win

Raith Rovers first team coach Laurie Ellis said he would be “delighted” to stay on at the club following the departure of manager Grant Murray.

Speaking towards the end of what he described as a “difficult” week, Ellis said he didn’t know what his own situation will be but he hoped he would be able to remain at Stark’s Park once the new manager is appointed.

“The whole structure of the footballing side of the club will be turning round and if I’ve got a role or place within that structure then I’ll be absolutely delighted.” he said. “I’ll grab it with both hands.”

It’s been a week of turmoil at the club after manager Murray was dismissed on Monday following a spell of five straight defeats, which culminated with a wretched 4-0 home defeat against Livingston last Saturday. Ellis and Director of Football Maurice Malpas will take the team for tomorrow’s final game of the season away to Dumbarton, a match which Ellis said he’ll be looking to win.

“It’s been difficult,” he said.

“Monday was a really hard day and from that moment on we had to think carefully about the week ahead and how we dealt with payers and regain focus towards the game that finishes the season. It’s an important game.

“It’s been a difficult week for everyone at the club. The players have been involved in all the goings on, the board have been involved, myself, Maurice Malpas and of course it was even more difficult for Grant.”

Ellis paid tribute to the former manager saying he had worked extremely hard during his three year spell in the Stark’s Park hot seat.

“He’s very disappointed and sad to leave his role.

“I’ve known Grant for a long time and I’ll continue to be good friends with him. We’ve had separate chats about it and it’s to his great credit that pretty quickly he put a bit of focus on the situation and said to me nothing changes for you. Go and do your best with the boys to focus for Saturday and get a result to finish the season.”

Having been asked to take charge of the side along with Malpas, Ellis said he had to quickly focus on the job.

“On Monday it was put to Maurice and I that we were to oversee the team for tomorrow.

“As soon as it was put to me I started thinking about it, which doesn’t take away the disappointment I feel about what happened and for Grant, but we will need to make sure that the players and the club finished the season on a positive note.

“Football’s a game where no matter what’s going on in your personal life, your working life or in your family life, when you’re in a football situation you forget about everything else. It’s a unique thing that football can give you.

“It’s our job to have the players in a focussed frame of mind going into the game and as soon as that game starts they carry it off.

“Once the whistle goes there shouldn’t be any problems. After the game we can have a chat about how things have been and about what may unfold in the next few weeks.”

Ellis refused to say whether he was putting his name in the ring for the top job, saying his only focus was on tomorrow’s match, adding he wouldn’t be making any drastic changes, but will be looking for a reaction from the players.

“That’s simply due to last week’s result,” he said, “They’re a team of footballers and they’re judged on their previous results and we want to finish in a different manner from last week.”

In what has been a week of gloom for the club, there’s has been a real positive with experienced goalkeeper David McGurn putting pen to paper for another two years at the club, and Ellis was quick to praise his contribution to the team.

“David’s been an excellent servant to the club. We know what he’s provided to the team this season and many other seasons, so any good player within our squad that signs gives us a boost.

“We’ve got a lot of good players here and every season you must aim to improve the squad and freshen things up. Whoever comes in will be pretty positive. There’s a good base here.”

Looking back at the season the coach described Rovers overall performance as “hot and cold”.

“But I think most teams in the league have been hot and cold,” he said. “The only team that’s put a consistent run of form together for any length of time won the league.

“The periods where we didn’t have good results we weren’t happy with, but we also had good runs throughout the season, especially around the turn of the year.

“At the start of the season the target was to get to the play offs. We didn’t make it but up until just a few weeks ago it was possible.

“Over the piece in what has been a very difficult league - and every team has found it a difficult league - we’ve held our own. It’s been a good season but there are always improvements to make.

“But right now I’ve been asked to look after the team and I’m 100 per cent focussed towards Saturday and Dumbarton.”