Murray: I feel a special connection at Raith

Cliftonhill - Coatbridge - 'Albion v Raith  -  EUAN MURRAY celebrates scoring -'credit- Fife Photo Agency
Cliftonhill - Coatbridge - 'Albion v Raith - EUAN MURRAY celebrates scoring -'credit- Fife Photo Agency

Raith Rovers defender Euan Murray has revealed he turned down the chance to move to a higher division to stay with the Kirkcaldy club.

The 24-year-old had options on the table, but connection with the fans, his relationship with manager Barry Smith, as well as the security of a two-year contract, made it an easy decision to return for another crack at winning promotion.

“Staying at the club was something I ideally wanted,” Murray told the Press.

“There was interest from a higher level, but one of biggest things for me was a two-year deal and a bit of settlement for me and my family.

“I also had a connection with everyone at the club last season and, for as much as it ended in disappointment for everyone, I loved every minute of it.

“I felt settled at the club and it’s probably the most I’ve enjoyed football in a good number of years, going back to when I was at Motherwell.

“I got on with so many people from the coaching staff and team mates, to the people who work at the training centre in Glenrothes, and the fans.

“When the gaffer came to me with a two-year deal, there was nowhere else I was going to end up. I’ve only been here one season, and it didn’t work out that well for us as a collective in the end, but it’s just the feeling I have for the club, and the manager staying was also a big part in me wanting to stay.

“It’s important we look forward to this season rather than look back. That’s done with.

“There’s some good times ahead for the football club and it’s a positve time to be involved. That was a big factor in me staying in as well.”

Murray had a nomadic career before joining Raith last summer with six clubs already under his belt, including spells in England and the Solomon Islands.

But with a young family under his wing, the defender is glad to have found a settled home at Stark’s Park.

“The season before last in England was a great experience, and it definitely brought me on massively as a player,” he reflected.

“I also matured a lot in the sense that I was away from my partner and baby son and driving up to see them as much as I could.

“It was just probably the wrong time to be down there in my career.

“I did commit to it professionaly as much as I could, but I didn’t really feel as though my head was in it because I was away at such an early stage in my wee man’s life.

“When I came back up, it was just lucky for me that it’s clicked with Raith.”

Murray made 45 appearances for Raith last season - only once as a substitute - and his unerring consistency earned him the Manager’s Player of the Year award.

“I didn’t expect the manager’s award but it was nice,” he said.

“It might have dented my reputation in the dressing room but if you give it out like I do then you need to expect to take it back.

“For all it’s a laugh and joke with the boys, and I get slagged for being teacher’s pet, it’s something I was really proud of.

“Out of the signings last summer, I was probably the least known, so to play as big a part as I did, and for the manager to give me that award is something I’m really proud of and thankful for.”

Murray is now looking to shrug off the disappointing end to the season and refocus for a second attempt at escaping League One.

“I was devastated, as everyone else was, with how the season finished,” he said. “It still hurts when you think about it.

“But there’s so much to look forward to with the club. We have another chance to go be successful and get the club back to where it deserves to be.

“We’ve kept some good players from last year, and hopefully if we strengthen and keep hold of another one or two we can be right up there and get it over the line.

“We have to look at this season positively that we can go and do it, and if we’re all shooting in the right direction I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t.”