Raith open contract talks with star striker

Stark's Park - Kirkcaldy - Fife - 'Raith v Brechin -'KEVIN NISBET celebrates'credit- Fife Photo Agency
Stark's Park - Kirkcaldy - Fife - 'Raith v Brechin -'KEVIN NISBET celebrates'credit- Fife Photo Agency

Raith Rovers are hoping to tie down Kevin Nisbet on an extended contract after the striker fired his way to the top of the SPFL scoring charts.

The 21-year-old, who arrived from Partick Thistle in the summer, has struck an impressive 15 goals in 12 league games and was recently named League One’s Player of the Month for October.

His superb double on Saturday secured a 2-1 victory over Brechin City and manager John McGlynn revealed the club are already in talks over extending his one-year deal, which ends in May.

“There’s no doubt that we’d like to get him stay here longer,” McGlynn said.

“We’re in dialogue with Kevin and his agent so it’s just a matter of watch this space.

“You can tell by the way he’s playing that he’s enjoying his football, and he’s not necessarily always been doing that.

“He’s found a place where he feels wanted, where he’s encouraged to express himself, and he’s thriving on that.

“There’s a lot to be said for being where you’re happy. He’s been at other clubs and the grass is not always greener.”

Nisbet’s form has been particularly welcome given the ongoing injury concerns up front, with both Lewis Vaughan and Chris Duggan remaining sidelined.

Both players have been to see specialists over troublesome groin injuries which are likely to prevent them from returning to action any time soon.

There is even the possibility that Vaughan may require another operation, which could put him out of action until the new year.

The injury situation has provided an opportunity to youngster Jack Smith, who made his first appearance of the season on Saturday from the bench after impressing McGlynn in training.

“Jack was injured when we came in, but he had an operation and was on his way back,” McGlynn said.

“Once he joined in the training you could see that he can finish and you think there may be something there.

“He got 20 minutes in the reserves, then a half, and you can see the type of player he is.

“We felt Jack could give us 20 minutes on Saturday and what he did was exactly what we seen in training, which was really pleasing.

“He did what you would expect from a young striker – showed good anticipation, good link-up, and played with no fear.

“He did things defenders don’t like, particularly going on with 20 minutes to go, by running in behind them.

“That’s when we really started to turn the screw. That was really pleasing and the future looks bright for young Jack.”

McGlynn takes his squad to Bayview on Saturday for his first Fife derby since returning to the club.

Rovers were fortunate to claim a 2-2 draw the last time the sides met at Stark’s Park in August, and McGlynn is anticipating a tough fixture.

“It’s a derby game so for that reason alone the players will be up for it,” he said.

“We’ve just won a game and we want to build on that. We had a hiccup against Forfar for a period of the second half, where we let ourselves down, and where we didn’t compete, but the boys responded so we’re back on track.

“The next game happens to be East Fife, who were going along nicely until a couple of defeats, but nobody has gone to Arbroath and won this season, and they probably went to Dumbarton at the wrong time with a new manager in.

“Myself and Paul went to watch them against Queen of the South and they deservedly won 2-0. We know need to be at our best, and that’s what intend to deliver, albeit with a number of key players missing.”

On top of Vaughan and Duggan, Raith are also without midfield duo Regan Hendry and Grant Gillespie, leaving McGlynn to admit his squad is close to breaking point.

“We’re skating on thin ice,” he said. “These are four players that walk into any team in this league, and most Championship teams.

“We’ve not had any luck with injuries, none whatsoever.

“But to be fair to everyone else, they are rolling their sleeves up and still getting results. If we can hang in there til we get everyone back, and somewhere along the line we get a fair crack of the whip, and get our players back, we’ll go man-for-man and toe-to-toe with any team in this league.”

McGlynn revealed he is hoping to secure the services of a winger, who featured as a trialist in the reserves last week, in time for the trip to Bayview.