Raith rebuild gathers pace

Eddie Malone signs for Raith Rovers, watched by manager John McGlynn. Pic: Tony Fimister
Eddie Malone signs for Raith Rovers, watched by manager John McGlynn. Pic: Tony Fimister

IT was one in, several out at Raith Rovers this week as the rebuilding job at the cash-strapped club began to gather pace.

Ayr United left back Eddie Malone was confirmed yesterday (Wednesday) as manager John McGlynn’s first new signing of the summer, signing a one-year part-time deal.

However, the Raith boss has had less luck convincing his own players to stay.

Star striker, and top scorer for the past two seasons, John Baird, has rejected an offer to remain at Stark’s Park, choosing instead to sign for First Division rivals Dundee.

Contract offers have also been made to first team regulars Iain Davidson, Laurie Ellis, Dougie Hill, David McGurn and Allan Walker.

At the time of going to print, none of these players had committed their future to Raith, although up and coming youth players Ross Callachan, Colin Wilson and Ross Laidlaw have signed one-year extensions, and will push for first team football next season.

First teamers Damian Casalinuovo, Scott McBride and Iain Williamson have been told to find new clubs, while a number of under 19s have also been freed.

Willie Dyer signed for Morton last week, although Malone has already been brought in as a direct replacement.

McGlynn now plans to push his undecided players for an answer this weekend.

“I’ve given the players a wee bit of time however I’ll be contacting them all later this week to get an idea how they are feeling,” he said.

“They were not in a position to bite my hand off and sign, but I need to know if the offers we have made are acceptable at all, and if not we’ll need to move on.

“I’m not holding a gun to anyone’s head but if they want to re-sign I really need to know sooner rather than later.”

McGlynn revealed that he has been contacted by a number of players looking for a contract at Stark’s Park next season.

He explained: “I’m probably like every manager just now in that I’m getting players phoning me from all angles.

“However, with the club cutting back, I’m restricted in what I can do.

“I’m not one for over-committing to players then when they all come back and say ‘yes’ you don’t have enough money to follow through your commitments.

“I’m waiting to get feedback from my own players first – or else we’ll have committed to double the amount of players we can afford.”

McGlynn was delighted to confirm the signing of Malone (27), who was a first team regular for relegated Ayr last season, scoring five goals, including one at Stark’s Park.

McGlynn said: “He is a left back who has always impressed me when playing against Raith Rovers for both Dundee and Ayr United in recent years.

“Eddie is a really good solid defender who can also play in central defence and if he can score the same amount of goals for us as he did for Ayr I will be extremely happy.”

McGlynn was also happy to retain the services of youngsters Callachan, Laidlaw and Wilson - all of whom tasted first team action last season.

“They have all shown potential and its good to bring players through from the youth academy like we did with Reece Donaldson last season.

“The hope is that these guys can do as well as Reece did.

“They will likely be flung in during pre-season to see how they handle it.”

McGlynn will also now embark on the search for John Baird’s replacement.

He added: “As manager of Raith Rovers you just have to accept that you will lose your best talent to a club with more money.

“Signing a replacement becomes more difficult when you have less money.”