Raith ‘going in the right direction’ despite defeats

Raith Rovers boss Barry Smith. Pic: George McLuskie
Raith Rovers boss Barry Smith. Pic: George McLuskie

Barry Smith believes Raith Rovers are heading in the right direction despite starting the Betfred Cup with back-to-back defeats.

Encouraging performances against both Dundee United and Dundee failed to produce positive results, but left the manager with plenty cause for optimism.

“We’re going in the right direction,” Smith said. “Nobody likes getting beat, but we know what we’re trying to do, and we’re not far away.

“It’s just about getting that win. We wanted to pick one up against United or Dundee, it’s not happened, so it’s just about making sure we’re ready for Buckie Thistle.

“It will be another tricky test going away up there on a Tuesday night, but I’m sure the boys will be ready for it.”

Smith was speaking after the 2-1 defeat to Dundee at Stark’s Park on Tuesday night that saw the visitors claim an injury-time winner.

“If we’re being honest I don’t think we did enough to win the game,” Smith said.

“But, we certainly didn’t deserve to get beat with the work-rate and effort the boys put in, which I’m delighted with.

“Getting the response to going a goal down against a Premiership club then levelling the game was brilliant.

“But there’s a real frustration because we didn’t deserve to get beat.

“Dundee had a lot of possession but didn’t really cut us open.

“They’ve hit the bar in the first half, and I can’t remember our ‘keeper having any more to do. There wasn’t much in it, and there’s a lot there for me to work with.

“The discipline, the way we set up, the shape was good, and we made it very difficult for a good Dundee team.
“Against a Premiership club we’ve more than held our own for the majority of the game.”

Lewis Vaughan got the honour of scoring Rovers’ first competitive goal of the season with a peach of a volley in the 89th minute.

“It was a great finish by Lewis and we know what he’s capable of,” Smith added.

“The position he’s playing in just now gives him the opportunity to get into areas where nobody knows how to pick him up.

“He’ll score goals this season.”

Bobby Barr missed the midweek match due to a rib injury.

“He got a bang on his ribs against Dunfermline last Monday and was carrying it a wee bit on Saturday so he’s struggling a wee bit with that,” Smith revealed.

“We’ll just wait and see how he goes but everyone came through the games okay.”

Smith also confirmed that Raith are continuing to monitor free agent Kevin McHattie but the left back, who was released at the end of last season, is currently struggling with injury.

“We’re still speaking to Kevin, but he’s got a wee knock at the moment,” he said.

“He just needs to make sure he recovers from that knock before we put pen to paper.

“With such a tight squad we can’t afford to be carrying players.”

Raith now have a free weekend before completing their Betfred Cup schedule with a trip to Buckie Thistle on Tuesday followed by Cowdenbeath at home next Saturday.

The league campaign then kicks off away to Alloa on Saturday, August 5.