Raith prepared to bide time in search for right manager

Stark's Park, home of Raith Rovers.
Stark's Park, home of Raith Rovers.

Raith Rovers are prepared to bide their time over the appointment of a new manager after confirming that the interview process is likely to begin next week.

The board met on Monday evening, almost a week since Barry Smith’s shock resignation, where in excess of 40 applicants were whittled down to a list comprising around 10 to 12 names for further consideration.

The board are not due to meet again until next Monday, with chairman Bill Clark insisting there is no rush, and placing his full confidence in Kevin Cuthbert as a capable caretaker in the interim.

“We sifted through all the applicants at a very long board meeting on Monday, and we’ve narrowed it down to approximately 10 to a dozen,” Clark told the Press.

“We’ll be reviewing them again at the next board meeting on Monday, with a view to getting it down to four or five. In the meantime, Kevin will take charge of the team.

“We’re looking at every aspect of the applications in detail, and being very professional, I think, about selecting the next person for the job.

“Kevin is a perfectly capable interim manager, that’s why we are doing it that way.”

Clark confirmed that Cuthbert, who has been with the club for four years and as first team coach under Barry Smith for the past 15 months, will be among the candidates for the job.

“He’s a thinking footballer and we rate him as a coach,” he said.

“He’s untested as a manager, so we don’t know, but we’ve got to give him another game or two at least to show what he can do with the squad we’ve got.”

The list of applicants is believed to include former Celtic players Barry Robson and Massimo Donati, who are looking to take their first steps into management, along with more experienced names, such as Lee Clark, the former Kilmarnock boss. There are also applications from managers currently in jobs.

Names high on the supporters wish-list include recently sacked Morton boss Jim Duffy, Rovers legend Danny Lennon, currently with Clyde, and Alloa manager Jim Goodwin, who masterminded promotion via the play-offs at Raith’s expense last season.

Chairman Clark added: “We’ve got a lot of very experienced applicants, some of whom have managed five or six clubs, and others who have managed just one.

“One or two who are very inexperienced we’ve laid aside for the moment, but experience isn’t everything.

“Also, to put it bluntly, we’re not really considering people who have had four or five managerial appointments, and done next to nothing with those clubs.

“We’re looking for someone enthusiastic, committed to Raith Rovers, and confident they can win promotion for us this season.

“Given we got 40-plus applicants within three or four days demonstrates it’s still an attractive club to come to. We’re still in a very good position in the league and we want to kick on from here.”

Following Barry Smith’s departure under a cloud last week, questions have been raised over the operation of the board, and the influence of majority shareholder John Sim. However, Clark confirmed that the manager will be appointed by democratic process.

“Although John is the majority shareholder, I as chairman, and the rest of the board members, have the opportunity to make this appointment,” he said.

“John is a board member, and will put his tuppence worth into the discussion, but it will be a decision by the whole of the board.”

Clark confirmed the Raith remain in talks with Barry Smith over the terms of his resignation, but that the process has been ‘amicable’.

“There are no hard feelings either way,” he said. “We just have to move on.”