Raith boss refusing to give up on title chase

Barry Smith on the touchline in the 1-1 draw at Arbroath on Saturday. Pic: Graham Black
Barry Smith on the touchline in the 1-1 draw at Arbroath on Saturday. Pic: Graham Black

Raith Rovers manager Barry Smith is refusing to throw in the towel on his team's title hopes despite losing further ground on leaders Ayr United.

The 1-1 draw at Arbroath on Saturday, combined with Ayr coming from behind to defeat Airdrie, resulted in the Kirkcaldy side falling five points behind with three games to play.

The Honest Men could clinch the League One championship this Saturday if they beat Stranraer at home, and Raith fail to pick up maximum points at home to Queen's Park.

Rovers need to win their three remaining games and hope Ayr lose twice to avoid dropping into the promotion play-offs, but Smith insists that his players will not give up the title chase.

"It's tough but we're not at the stage where we're saying, that's it," he said.

"We're going to keep fighting and make sure that if Ayr are going to win the league, they are going to have to work hard for it.

"There's nine points to be won, and we'll try to win the nine points and see what happens."

Smith's major gripe from Saturday's 1-1 draw in Arbroath surrounded the loss of an equalising goal from a corner kick with 15 minutes remaining.

Liam Buchanan had earlier put Raith in front with a first half penalty.

"Graeme Smith has only had two saves to make in the second half, both of which he did very well with, but we shouldn't be conceding from set pieces, and in that case you win the game," he said.

Smith had replaced Aaron Lennox in the first half after the starting goalkeeper picked up an injury.