Raith boss calls for spirit of 10 men in play-offs

Raith players celebrate Jonny Court's opener against Ayr on Saturday. Pic: Fife Photo Agency
Raith players celebrate Jonny Court's opener against Ayr on Saturday. Pic: Fife Photo Agency

Raith Rovers boss John Hughes reckons it will take the same spirit shown by 10 men against Ayr United on Saturday to beat Brechin City in the play-offs.

Raith overcame a first minute red card to goalkeeper Pavol Penksa to claim a 2-1 victory over the Honest Men, although it wasn't enough to spare the Kirkcaldy side from the relegation play-offs, which start with a trip to Glebe Park tonight in the semi-final first leg.

Rovers will hope to bring a positive result back to Stark's Park for Saturday's second leg, where they remain unbeaten since Hughes was appointed in mid-February.

"I was really proud of the boys on Saturday and if we show that application, spirit and focus then we'll be a hard team to beat.," Hughes said.

"It seems to be always at home, so we need to reproduce it away from home.

"You get a vibe for it, and I just feel the boys are up for it.

"But there's nothing between the teams in terms of where they are and where we are.

"I've been in the game long enough to know if you lose concentration football can kick you in the backside.

"It's going to be a real difficult match and over the two legs it will be very close."

Hughes made national headlines in the build-up to the Ayr game after publicly criticising his players following a 5-0 defeat at St Mirren, and insisting that he would allow kit man Simon Pollock to do his team talk.

However, the Raith boss believes no team talk will be required ahead of tonight's big match.

"I don't think I have to do one," he said. "I just feel that, eventually, the penny's dropped.

"We were hoping and praying that results went our way on Saturday, but now it's down to us.

"I think we've found a wee bit of togetherness and spirit.

"It was the players' awards on Saturday too and that will bring them closer together.

"I just feel that they are galvanised, but once they step over white line that's when they have to stand up and be counted."

Tonight's first leg kicks off at 7.45 p.m.