Raith Rovers manager Grant Murray has started planning for next season after admitting the play-off race is effectively over.
After Tuesday’s defeat to Hearts, Murray conceded that achieving the goal of finishing fourth will now be a “big ask”, but he expects his players to show professional pride in the remaining nine games.
It’s all about putting in performances now and showing the same determination and desire we showed against Hearts
“The rebuilding has got to start during the season and we’re no different from anyone else,” he said.
“But it’s important we finish this season with a winning mentality.
“It’s all about putting in performances now and showing the same determination and desire we showed against Hearts.
“We’ll be trying to win as many games as we can between now and the end of the season.
“They are professionals so pride is involved as well when it comes to individual performance and consistency.”
Raith face Alloa at home on Saturday in a match that kicks-off at 5.30 p.m due to live BBC Alba coverage.
Murray is facing selection problems with Christian Nade suspended following his red card in midweek, and Martin Scott (back) and Kevin Moon (calf) both doubtful.
“Martin and Kevin both pulled up in the warm-up on Tuesday night so we couldn’t even put them on the pitch,” he said.
“We’ve got to see who we’ve got available.
“There was a lot of tired bodies out there, but we’ve got to regroup for Saturday.
“It will be a difficult game against Alloa who are battling for their lives down there.
“The pitch has taken a tanking so we’re getting to that point in the season where the way you win games is with a wee bit grit and determination.”
Murray felt Nade’s red card on Tuesday was harsh, adding: “When two players come sliding in, there’s going to be contact.
“When one gets caught, the reaction sometimes makes it worse than it is. I thought the officials were quite inconsistent if I’m honest.”
Murray was happy with his team’s efforts in the 3-1 midweek defeat but admitted the sending off made life difficult.
He added: “I thought we done fantastic to get in the game but the turning point is the red card.
“Games against Hearts have been hard enough with 11 men.”
Meanwhile, Raith look set to lose their physio, Karen Gibson, who is moving to Hearts. Karen arrived at Stark’s Park in October, having previously been with Dundee, and has been credited with transforming the club’s physiotherapy department.