Matthews insists Raith can still win title despite Ayr setback

Ross Matthews on the ground after alleged stamp by Lawrence Shankland  - credit- Fife Photo Agency
Ross Matthews on the ground after alleged stamp by Lawrence Shankland - credit- Fife Photo Agency

The anguish was written all over the face of Raith Rovers midfielder Ross Matthews as he reflected on the poor performance at Somerset Park on Saturday.

The manner of the defeat to Ayr United cast aspersions over Raith’s Leauge One title chances, but 22-year-old insists that the Kirkcaldy side can still lift the championship despite their second 3-0 thumping of the season at the home of their nearest rivals.

“Everyone is disappointed in there,” he said.

“We knew how big a game it was, and Ayr were the better team, and that’s the thing that really gets to me.

“But the aim is still to win the league and we still feel that is possible.

“Everyone in the changing room still believes we can do it, and we’re all behind the manager and sticking together.”

Matthews insisted that Lawrence Shankland, the scorer of Ayr’s opening goal, should been sent off for an alleged stamp on him early in the game.

“I’m lying on the ground and all I can remember is looking down and he’s stamping on my ankle,” Matthews said.

“The ref claims he never seen it, and he hasn’t done anything about it.

“In my opinion it was a sending off. He goes on to score, but after that it’s our own fault.

“We can’t complain about something that happened 10 minutes into the game when we weren’t good enough for the other 80 minutes.”

Shell-shocked Raith boss Barry Smith felt the team let down the 471 travelling fans.

“We had a good travelling support and we certainly disappointed them,” he said.

“They got behind us but it was a disappointing performance from us.

“We lost two goals from set pieces – it’s as simple as that.

“If you don’t defend them properly then it causes problems.

“The boys kept going but we’ve got to be better than that.

“We’re still sitting top of the league, and there’s eight games to go.

“We’re looking for a response up at Forfar on Tuesday.”