Raith ‘keeper calls for team to rediscover winning mentality

SCOTTISH CUP THIRD ROUND
PETERHEAD V RAITH ROVERS
(DUNCAN BROWN)

GRAEME SMITH GETS THE BALL AHEAD OF FORMER TEAM MATE RORY MCALLISTER
SCOTTISH CUP THIRD ROUND PETERHEAD V RAITH ROVERS (DUNCAN BROWN) GRAEME SMITH GETS THE BALL AHEAD OF FORMER TEAM MATE RORY MCALLISTER

Raith Rovers goalkeeper Graeme Smith has encouraged the side to rediscover its winning mentality following a week to forget.

Raith lost three times in seven days last week, conceding eight goals without reply, with cup defeats to Dumbarton and Peterhead either side of a midweek league loss in Ayr.

The mini-slump has led to some soul-searching within the Raith dressing room and Smith feels that a response against Queen’s Park this Saturday can get things back on track.

“We’re not pressing the panic button yet, it’s just been a very disappointing week,” he said,

“We probably had too many underperformers in the last three matches, and all we can do is bounce back and show that we’ve got that winning mentality.

“It’s a long season and one or two games won’t define it, but we’ve got to work extra hard to get back on track against Queen’s Park, which is a game we now need to perform in for ourselves and for the manager.

“He’ll take the flak but it’s certainly down to the players on the pitch.

“As a group we’re disappointed but we’ve just got to kick on and the next two games being at home presents a good challenge.

“Win those two, and our game in hand, and we’re back joint top of the league.”

Smith was speaking after the 3-0 defeat to Peterhead on Saturday which saw Rovers exit the Scottish Cup at the first hurdle to lower league opposition.

“We knew we’d be in for a tough game, and what we’d need to do, it’s just bitterly disappointing that it didn’t pan out on the day,” he said.

“We just struggled to get any rythmn and flow in the game, and we lost soft goals, so both of them together meant it wasn’t a good day for us.

“It’s been a very poor week and we’re just working through one of those runs where things aren’t quite going for us.

“We’re not getting the break of the ball, and passes are either being misplaced or just overhit.

“It’s frustrating but you can’t put your head down. We’ve just got to work collectively because we know we’ve got great players here and ability in the squad.

“We know defensively we can be very good and keep clean sheets because we’ve done it over a longer period of time.

“It’s been a bitterly disappointing week but we just have to bounce back and show what we’re made of against Queen’s Park.”

Smith insists Raith will be judged on their finishing position come May.

“They don’t hand out the medals in November,” he said.

“Yes it’s disappointing to lose to your title rivals, and to go out the cup early doors, but it’s just one week in football.

“It’s swings and roundabouts and you can be high one minute and low the next.

“It’s a long season and we’re more than prepared for that mentally and physically.”