Raith boss isn’t fooled by Falkirk’s slow start

Rory McKeown is brought down at Livingston on Saturday. Pic: Fife Photo Agency
Rory McKeown is brought down at Livingston on Saturday. Pic: Fife Photo Agency

Raith Rovers manager Grant Murray has warned his players not to be fooled by Falkirk’s lowly league position ahead of the game at Stark’s Park on Saturday.

While Rovers have collected 12 points from the opening six games to sit third in the table, the Bairns have managed only half that amount, and currently lie third bottom.

However, Murray insists Peter Houston’s side are in a false position and he expects them to provide difficult opposition on Saturday.

“Somebody’s got to be down there but a team like Falkirk are going to pick up points over the course of the season,” Murray said.

“It’s still early, so I’m sure they will feel they are in a false position. We’ll certainly need to respect them because they are a very good side on their day.

“You have to look at the squad of players they’ve got - they have signed a lot of players who played in the Premier League last season.

“Similar to ourselves, they have changed a lot over the summer but they still have a good nucleus of the team that got to the play-offs and they will want to do well again after getting a taste of that.

“But we’re at home and we always want our home form to be good, and make Stark’s Park a difficult place to come.

“We want the three points but we know the work rate, effort and performance has to be right.”

The Raith squad are on a high this week after Saturday’s 1-0 win away to Livingston banished the negativity that followed the 4-0 home loss to Rangers.

Murray is pleased with the overall start his team has made to the Championship campaign.

“We can look upon it and say we’ve had four good wins and two defeats against two very good teams,” Murray said.

“They were sore defeats but we can say we’re worthy of the 12 points we’ve picked up, that’s for sure.”

Murray was particular ly pleased with the clean sheet in Livingston and hinted that veteran defender Laurie Ellis, who turns 35 in November, could retain his place after an impressive performance deputising for the injured Ross Perry.

“Laurie is a fit guy, probably similar to myself at that age,” he said. “He is still capable of playing and training day in, day out.

“It shows how long you can continue to play if you look after yourself. He came on very early against Cowdenbeath and did very well.

“I have no problem whatsoever with Laurie going in - his experience can help.”

Dougie Hill is also back in light training following a groin operation and is hoping for a return to action within a month.

“Dougie has been doing some training but it’s important that he steps it up properly,” Murray said.

“We want him back as quick as we can but he has to be right.

“We don’t want him overdoing it and breaking down so he will not be rushed.”

Craig Barr and Kevin Cuthbert have also undergone successful operations and Murray is hopeful the pair will be fit before the end of the year.

Murray also revealed that Kevin Moon was substituted early in the second half in Livingston due to feeling unwell.

“Kevin was struggling at half-time but wanted to stay on another 10 minutes,” he said.

“A couple of boys had sickness on Friday but declared themselves fit to play, which shows the good spirit among them.”