Raith boss tells play-off rivals: We’re in it to win it

Raith boss Ray McKinnon is adamant his side can win the promotion play-offs. Credit - Fife Photo Agency -
Raith boss Ray McKinnon is adamant his side can win the promotion play-offs. Credit - Fife Photo Agency -

Raith boss Ray McKinnon has set his sights on taking the club to the Premiership after insisting his team CAN upset the odds and win the play-offs.

Rovers place in the promotion play-offs was confirmed on Saturday after a 2-1 victory at Queen of the South which extended the Kirkcaldy club’s unbeaten run to eight games.

Raith are currently the form side in the division and McKinnon insists his players are capable of rising to the challenge of winning three two-legged ties as underdogs.

To go up, Rovers will have to overcome both Hibs and Falkirk - in what order is yet to be decided - before facing the team that finishes 11th in the Premiership, currently Kilmarnock.

“We’ve been slipping under the radar, and teams don’t want to play us,” McKinnon said.

“It’s heavily weighted in the Premiership team’s favour and we’re going to have to fight our way through that if we can.

“It will be tough for us, but it will be tough for the other teams as well. There’s no pressure on us.

“We are the underdogs and the least likely to do it, but it can happen and we’ll give it everything we’ve got. We’re in it to win it.

“We won’t make it easy for anybody. We’ve got some nice players and can play some nice football, but we can mix it, and we know how to win games - we’ve proven that.

“We’ll be formidable opponents for anybody over the two games.”

Raith have three more league games before the play-offs kick in starting with the trip to Dumbarton on Saturday, which starts at 5.15 p.m due to BBC Alba coverage.

The challenge for McKinnon and his players is to maintain the momentum while avoiding any unnecessary injuries or suspensions.

“We have to balance it,” he said. “We’re able to look at the bigger picture and try to get as much game time into as many players as possible, and still be competitive because we want to keep the run going.

“They’ve done all the hard work, but I don’t think this is the sort of group that will take their foot off the gas.

“If you seen them training, you would not believe it. Tuesday was one of the best training days we’ve had.

“They really went at it, and were at a high tempo through the whole session. They’re flying and they are buzzing for play-offs.

“There’s a lot of competition for places and they’ll all want to impress going into play-offs. Hopefully that’s the spur that keeps the performances at a good level. That’s the important thing although we want to keep the results going as well.”

Hibs collapse in form now means Raith have an outside chance of finishing third - a win over Dumbarton would see them close the gap on the Easter Road side to two points.

As well as increased prize money, a third place finish would give Raith home advantage in the play-off quarter-final second leg.

“I certainly think if we win our last three games we’ll be bang there with them,” McKinnon said.

“That would be a real momentum swing!”

“The squad is feeling good, they are positive and training well, and they have a great opportunity ahead of them.

“The secret as football players is recognising your chance and grabbing it because a lot of people miss opportunities and think another one will be along next year.

“Go and grab it and don’t let it slip.”