Everyone has played a part

Raith boss Barry Smith with his League One manager of the month award. Pic by SNS.
Raith boss Barry Smith with his League One manager of the month award. Pic by SNS.

Raith Rovers manager Barry Smith believes everyone at the club - including the fans - have played a part in the club’s unbeaten start to the league season.

Smith collected the Ladbrokes Manager of the Month award for August this week after guiding Raith to the top of the table with 10 points from the opening four games.

In a double boost for the club, top scorer Lewis Vaughan also collected the Player of the Month prize after scoring 13 goals in the opening 10 games of the campaign.

“The boys have worked hard and everyone’s worked hard through pre-season since I came in and up to this point,” he said. “As much as I’m getting the award, there’s a lot of hard work gone in from a lot of other people.

“My own coaching staff and the players have bought in to what we’re trying to do and have worked hard into putting it into practice.

“The boys are doing well and the strikers are scoring goals, but we can’t forget that we’re keeping clean sheets as well.

“That gives the strikers that wee bit of freedom to go and express themselves, knowing that we’ve got the back door shut.

“It’s a whole team effort, and we can’t forget the fans, who have still been turning up in their numbers, to come and support the boys.

“When they’re behind the players, it makes a total difference to the freedom they have to express themselves.”

Raith’s position at the top of the table will be under threat this Saturday when fellow full-timers Ayr United visit Stark’s Park for the first clash between the two pre-season title favourites. Smith, however, is confident that his side are up to the challenge.

“The good thing for us is we’re going in playing with confidence,” he said. “We’ll never disrespect any team in this league, even more so Ayr, who came down last season as well.

“They’ve got a lot of good forward players, and a lot of good movement, so it will be very tough, and we’ll have to be at the top of our level, as we have been, to win the game.

“We’re under no illusion that Saturday is a real test and one that we want to come through with flying colours.”

Smith has galvanised the squad after the horrors of last season with players such as Bobby Barr and Lewis Vaughan showing some of their best form since joining the club.

“Everybody’s got a part to play,” he said.

“Bobby is enjoying his football and I think you can see that in his performances, which have been at a very good level. But that goes for them all.

“Don’t get me wrong, when you’re winning, it’s easy to enjoy it, but I think these boys have got the bit between their teeth that they want to keep winning.

“Lewis had nothing to prove to me, I’ve just asked him to go out and play. He’s playing in a slightly different position, but that doesn’t stop him from getting into the box.

“He’s scoring goals but the whole front-line is scoring goals and I’m sure Lewis will put a lot of his success down to the work the other ones are putting in to allow him the opportunity to get those chances.

“It’s a team game and we all accept the awards, because we’re all working hard to do what we’re doing at the moment.”