Raith boss has belief in his players

Raith Rovers manager Grant Murray. Pic: Fife Photo Agency
Raith Rovers manager Grant Murray. Pic: Fife Photo Agency

Grant Murray has spoken of his belief in his players after they eased some of the pressure on the Raith Rovers manager with a much-needed win in Falkirk on Saturday.

Raith directors told Murray after the recent 5-1 home defeat to Livingston that results needed to improve, and after improved performances in defeats to Dumbarton and Hibs, the team finally responded with an impressive victory against an on-form Falkirk side.

It was only Rovers second league win in 12 outings, but Murray insists that he can deliver improved results with the players he has at his disposal.

“I’ve always felt confident in the squad of players I’ve got - otherwise I wouldn’t have brought them here,” Murray said.

“Yes, you’ve got to work with them and get them to do what you want to do, and we’ve done that in some games.

“But when you go through a wee spell of not getting the results you want that’s when you get scrutinised - especially myself because I’m the manager.

“But I’ve got belief in the squad, and as a staff, we believe the guys we pick and put out are good enough to win games of football, we’ve seen that already this season.”

The win brought some welcome relief for Murray, who has endured some heavy criticism from fans recently, but he insists that he still has faith in his own ability, saying: “Of course I do, I wouldn’t be sitting here doing the job if I didn’t.”

Murray believes the result in Falkirk suggests that the team is better than recent form suggests.

“It shows that we can go to places like Falkirk, who had won five games on the bounce, under a bit of pressure, and get a result,” he said. “It shows a bit of character in us.

“I felt as if we’ve been playing well enough in games, but you get judged on the run you’re on.

“Three points are three points, whether you’ve been playing well or not.”

Raith are sitting seventh at the halfway stage of the Championship campaign - eight points away from the play-off positions at either end of the table - but the aim is simply to catch the teams above them.

“We’ll keep the targets very short,” Murray said. “We’ve always done that regardless of where sitting in the league. If you jump too far ahead that’s when things can go against you.

“Our target is just to catch the team above us, which is Dumbarton, simple as that.”

Raith’s next match is a New Year derby against Cowdenbeath on Saturday where the Kirkcaldy side will be looking to make it three wins out of three against their rivals this season.

“If you look at any derby game anywhere, form goes out the window,” Murray stressed. “It’s a case of who’s up for it on the day, who plays better football, who takes their chances, and who can defend better.

“Derbies can be like that regardless of where either team is sitting in the league, or what the team’s results have been the week before.

“Squad-wise be should be strong. Give or take Kevin Moon, we should have everyone available. Kevin Cuthbert is back doing some training, but is not ready yet to push for selection.”

Rovers have also reached agreement with Rangers to extend winger Barrie McKay’s loan deal until the end of the season.