Raith players are most honest I’ve worked with

Raith manager Gary Locke.
Raith manager Gary Locke.

Gary Locke has hailed his Raith Rovers players as the most honest he has worked with after they got back to winning ways on Saturday.

Rovers ended a run of three consecutive defeats with a 3-2 victory over Dumbarton, with the performance, for 70 minutes at least, delivering on all of Locke’s demands over work-rate, tempo and creativity.

“We got it all in abundance,” he said. “For a good 70 minutes I thought we were back ot our best - creating chances, moving the ball quickly, looking positive - and we scored three great goals.

“The only negative was that we got sloppy in the last 20 minutes and let them back in the game, but I’d rather concentrate on the positives and I thought we were different class for 70 minutes.

“The players have been great in terms of attitude. There’s nobody here that won’t go out and try to do as well as they possibly can because they are the most honest bunch of players I’ve ever worked with.

“I’m delighted that their hard work has got them a result again. Quite rightly, we got criticism after a couple of bad results, but that’s going to happen.

“We’re not going to go through the whole season without losing a couple of games, but the great thing is the response we got.”

Locke was particularly pleased with Raith’s goal threat on Saturday, scoring three times in a 20 minute spell in the first half, and they could have added to their tally.

“I was glad we got back to creating,” he said. “Against Falkirk and Queen of the South, I didn’t feel we were as threatening as we have been.

“But you see when you get a couple of bodies back, and you’ve got a wee bit competition for places, it certainly gives everyone a boost.”

Saturday marked Rudi Skacel’s long-awaited first league start for Rovers following his much-hyped summer move and Locke believes there’s more to come from the 37-year-old Czech.

“He probably needs a goal because he’s trying too hard to get his first one,” Locke said. “If his chance on Saturday falls on left foot he’s scoring - no doubt about it.

“But his general play, experience and the way he held the ball up and got others around him performing, I thought he brought a lot to the table.

“I was delighted to get him in the team - it’s been a long wait for him - but I think he’s shown he’s definitely got something to add to the team.

“Rudi doesn’t need me to tell him he’s a clever player. His fitness is getting there as well, although we had to take him off after 65 minutes because he was starting to tire a bit.

“But once gets a couple of games under his belt, we’ll hopefully see more from him.”

Locke does not anticipate making many changes for the trip to Morton on Saturday as he looks for a similar performance.

“Morton are a good side,” he said. “Billy Brown watched them for us on Saturday and his report was that they should have got something out the game.

“They’ve got a lot of quality throughout their squad, and Cappielow is a tough place to go, so it’s another hard game. But if we play how we did for 70 minutes on Saturday, we’ll give ourselves a great chance.

“Any result away from home is a good result, but we won’t be going there to play for a draw.”

Jason Thomson is due to see a specialist regarding his knee injury today (Thursday) but Locke is delighted to have secured short term cover in right back Liam Smith on an emergency one month loan from Hearts.

“We’re very fortunate to get him,” he said. “We hadn’t planned to bring anybody in, but Darren spoke to Hearts and they kindly offered him to us.

“For me, he’s one of the best young right backs in country, proven because he’s in the Scotland U21 squad.

“To get someone of that ilk was a great coup for us. It just shows that people out there are happy for their better young players to come play for us, which is great.”

Lewis Vaughan and Joel Coustrain, who missed the Dumbarton match, were both hoping to return to training yesterday (Thursday), although Yaw Osei, Scott Robertson and Craig Barr remain sidelined.