Raith midfielder tipped for the top after signing contract extension

Ross Callachan has signed a contract extension at Raith Rovers until the summer of 2018.
Ross Callachan has signed a contract extension at Raith Rovers until the summer of 2018.

Raith Rovers manager Gary Locke has backed Ross Callachan for a bright future in the game after fending off interest to secure the young midfielder on a one-year contract extension.

Callachan has penned a new deal until the summer of 2018 despite a number of expressions of interest from Scottish Premiership clubs during recent months while some English sides have also sent scouts to watch him.

The highly-rated 23-year-old has already spent a decade at Stark's Park, having progressed through the club's youth academy, and has made almost 150 appearances since making his first-team debut at the end of the 2010/11 campaign.

Locke has been hugely impressed with the player since taking over the Rovers reins in the summer, and said he was "over the moon" to secure his services until the end of next season.

He said: "We think he is a player who has a huge future in the game.

"To get him signed up and secure his services for another season is a major coup for us.

"I've no doubt the way he's been playing that there will be a lot of interest in him.

"He's one of our own - he's come through the youth ranks here and we're delighted with the progress he's making.

"If he keeps progressing, he'll go onto big things."

Callachan has scored three times so far this season and is targeting double figures from midfield, but the Raith manager is also working on improving his overall game.

"The most important thing is that he enjoys it, and enjoys working with us, but we feel we can make him better," Locke said.

"If we works on one or two aspects of his game that we feel he's a little bit weaker at, and improve on that, the world is his oyster.

"For me, he could go on to play at the highest level possible because he's got so many attributes.

"In the modern-day game, a midfielder who can get box-to-box and score goals is worth a lot of money, and he's capable of doing that.

"It's a major coup for us because we felt we might've lost him, but the board have worked extremely hard and we're delighted to secure his services."

Locke hopes that the success of a homegrown player will act as an incentive for fans to back the club's youth development fund, which remains short of its target.

"It's something we're trying to promote at the club and we want to get the youth development up and running," he said.

"We've brought Craig Easton in who is doing fantastically well with the younger lads we've got.

"And I look at the current first team squad - we've got for or five really talented young players.

"With proper coaching and development we're hopeful we can bring a few more youngsters in, get them into out first team, and they might make the club money.

"It's an important part of keeping the club afloat - and we need a bit of help because it all costs money.

"The more help we can get, the better for Raith Rovers going forward."