Raith not relying on refereeing decisions evening out

Raith Rovers manager Barry Smith.
Raith Rovers manager Barry Smith.

Raith Rovers may feel they were on the wrong end of the big decisions last Saturday, but boss Barry Smith insists he isn’t looking for any favours from referees.

Raith were denied a fourth straight victory by a controversial late penalty award, with even Albion Rovers’ forward Alan Trouten admitting afterwards that it was a soft decision.

He also confessed to a handball in the lead up to his opener, but Smith stressed that Raith will not be relying on the calls balancing out in the coming weeks.

“It’s disappointing that decisions went against us, but we move on and look forward Saturday’s game,” he told the Press.

“You hope they even themselves up, but we’ve got enough in the tank. We’re not relying on getting decisions. We just have to look after ourselves and make sure we get three points in the next game.

“When it comes down to it, we’re still in a good position and the boys are working hard to maintain it.”

The timing and manner of the Albion equaliser led to a lot of disappointment at full-time, particularly as it allowed title rivals Ayr to close the gap to six points. However, Smith insists there is plenty to be upbeat about.

“There are a lot of things to be positive about at the club, especially the way the players are going about their business,” he said.

“They work hard, and they’ve come in this week and it’s been the same. We’ve got a very good mentality, a real good team spirit and a strong togetherness, and that carries you through.

“They are very together, and you see that on the pitch. They just keep going. They’re really focused about what they want to do. Ultimately, we want three points every time we play. Sometimes it’s taken out of our hands, but that’s the way it goes.”

Having come through a torrid period of injuries, the current strength of the squad is such that Smith has had the luxury of using 13-goal striker Greig Spence from the bench in the last few games.

“Greig’s been very unfortunate,” Smith said. “He’s scored a lot of goals this season and found himself on the bench but his attitude has been terrific in training and he’s ready to go. He wants on as soon as possible and, when he’s come on, he’s done well.

“Sometimes they’re not on the bench through poor form. It’s just that we’ve got a strong squad and it’s good to use everybody differently, and the players respect that.

“Greig’s got experience and knows the division well, and I can say that, between now and the end of the season, he will play.”

Raith welcome third-placed Arbroath to Stark’s Park on Saturday for a tough match against a side that claimed a 4-1 win at Stranraer in midweek. Smith made the long midweek trip to watch ,Dick Campbell’s side in action.

“Dick’s always got them well organised, and they’re very attack-minded, so we have to make sure we defend properly,” Smith said. “But we feel there’s space to play in and we have to exploit that.”

Scott Robertson has recovered from the knee strain that kept him out of the trip to Cliftonhill, while Kevin McHattie handed the side a boost by returning to full training ahead of schedule this week after twisting his knee in the 0-0 draw with Alloa last month. John Herron is a doubt, however, after suffering a recurrence of his recent groin problem, while development squad striker Yaw Osei has suffered an achilles injury and faces a spell on the sidelines.