Raith midfielder Ross Matthews excited to play on new Stark’s Park pitch

Ross Matthews disposeses Jamie Hamill to set-up Raith's opening goal. Stranraer v Raith, August 4, 2018. Pic: Eddie Doig
Ross Matthews disposeses Jamie Hamill to set-up Raith's opening goal. Stranraer v Raith, August 4, 2018. Pic: Eddie Doig

Raith Rovers midfielder Ross Matthews is looking forward to his first game on the new Stark’s Park surface and believes it will benefit the team.

Raith trained on the newly laid astroturf this week ahead of its official opening in the League One fixture against Stenhousemuir on Saturday.

And Matthews (inset) has been left impressed with the pitch.

“I myself love playing at Stark’s so it’s good to be back, especially with the new surface,” he said.

“We trained on it this week and when it’s wet you get a good zip on it, and you can pass the ball.

“I’m quite excited to play a game on it. In the winter very few teams in this league have a brilliant surface for passing, so having this pitch will actually help us.

“It’s certainly looking good and everyone is excited to get playing on it on Saturday.”

Matthews made an impact in the opening game of the league season in Stranraer on Saturday, creating the first goal after forcing a mistake in the Stranraer defence.

The 22-year-old has made 101 appearances for the club but has managed just three goals and that is a statistic he aims to improve this season.

Although, in order to do so, he will need better finishing than his recent penalty kick effort against Hearts in the Betfred Cup, which was skied so high over the crossbar that it landed in the car park at Bayview!

“I’ve not heard the end of that one!” he said.

“My whole family – everyone has been on about it every day for the past two weeks. I don’t know what to say about it.

“I didn’t show it then, but I’d like to think I have a decent shot in me.

“It’s just about getting into the right areas and making good runs. It’s part of my game I need to improve on.”Matthew

Despite running with a small squad this season, which has already been tested by injuries, Matthews is confident that Raith can make a title push.

“You can see it’s smaller than last year, but it’s a good group of guys,” he said.

“Everyone gets on with each other, and training has been just as good, if not better than last year.

“We just need to get boys back fit, and then I’m sure we’ll have a strong squad. I’m definitely confident.

“If we get the same points tally as last year, I’m certain we’ll win this league, but I don’t see why we shouldn’t be trying to get better than last year.”

To surpass the previous campaign, Raith will need to improve their away form, and Matthews admitted that starting with two dropped points in Stranraer was not ideal.

“There was positives and negatives from the game,” he said.

“Our away form was definitely a weakness last season – we dropped too many stupid points.

“When you think back to Albion Rovers and Forfar away, games ike that when you know it’s not going to be easy or pretty on the eye, we just need to dig in, work hard and find a way to win.”