Raith boss expects tougher game in Forfar than Ayr had

Barry Smith Unveiled as the Raith Rovers Boss at Starks Park 30 May 17
Barry Smith Unveiled as the Raith Rovers Boss at Starks Park 30 May 17

Raith Rovers boss Barry Smith is expecting a tougher match in Forfar on Saturday than title rivals Ayr United had last week.

Ayr secured a comfortable 5-0 victory at Station Park, closing the gap on the league leaders to two points as Rovers match at Stranraer was abandoned.

However, Smith reckons his side will find it more difficult to break down the league’s bottom club this Saturday as he goes up against his former manager, Jim Weir, who recently took over Forfar following Gary Bollan’s dismissal.

“I know Jim, I played under him at Brechin, and I know how he’ll have his team fired up, especially after the result the previous week, and they’ll be looking for a reaction,” Smith said.

“It will be completely different from the Ayr game. I don’t think Forfar will be as open. Having just lost five goals they’ll probably put an extra man in the middle of park and shore things up, and try to protect themselves against our strike force, and the quality we’ve got.

“That will make it more difficult for us but we’ve got belief in our own abilities that we can break things down.

“We’ve shown in games that we’ll keep fighting until the last minute if that’s what it takes to get the result. Hoepfully we’ll get it done and dusted earlier, but that’s not always the case.”

Despite the game in Stranraer only lasting 37 minutes, Smith was able to take positives from the way Raith handled the adverse conditions.

“The boys showed another side where they rolled their sleeves up and dug in, and credit to them because it was very difficult circumstances,” he said. “They proved on Saturday that nothing is going to stop them this year.”

The abandonment means Raith are now facing a midweek journey to Stranraer, along with the trip to Ayr being moved to Tuesday, November 14, due to Rovers involvement in the Irn-Bru Cup quarter-finals.

“It is what it is, you just get on with it,” Smith said. “We’ve got a small squad, and it will be tested to the limits, but we’ve came through just about everything that’s been thrown at us already, so we’ll just continue in that vein.”