ROVERS held SPL Hibs to a goalless draw in an entertaining friendly at Stark’s Park on Friday night.
It was a good workout and there was plenty to please manager Grant Murray as his side more than held their own against their higher rated opponents.
An impressive travelling support boosted the crowd to over 2000 as this second fixture of Raith’s pre-season campaign was again played in summer sunshine.
Hibs started brightly and had Raith chasing shadows in the opening 10 minutes.
Handling should have fired them ahead as early as the third minute after great wing play by Harris saw him skip past Booth on the right and square for the young striker but Jason Thomson made a great saving block to deny him.
Handling had another chance soon after but McGurn got down well to hold his shot, then, before 10 minutes were up, the same player found himself with space 20 yards out but his drive was well over.
Rovers were struggling to get a foothold in the game but eventually began to enjoy some possession of their own and on 17 minutes Calum Elliot had their first shot at goal, though his effort from 20 yards didn’t trouble Ben Williams.
The match developed into a tight midfield battle after that with goalmouth incidents few and far between though Raith couldn’t capitalise when Williams failed to gather a Joe Cardle corner.
That man Handling almost had the final say of the first half when he showed excellent skill to create an opening for himself but McGurn was equal to his fierce drive, parrying it behind for a corner.
The second half was barely a minute old when James McPake should have put Hibs ahead but his header from a corner was too high.
Rovers were much livelier now and began to ask some questions of the visiting defence and when Callum Booth burst into the Hibs box down the left, his low cross was just cleared before Grant Anderson could pounce.
The inevitable slew of substitutions followed but the game retained its competitive edge and there were a few tasty challenges which tested the friendly game patience of Mr McKendrick.
Grant Anderson stung the hands of Williams with a shot that the keeper held well, then Dougie Hill’s header from a free kick went over the bar.
Rovers finished the stronger but the final whistle brought no goals but plenty to be encouraged about in Raith’s performance.
Raith: McGurn, Thomson, Booth, Donaldson, Hill, Fox, Anderson, Callachan, Smith, Elliot, Cardle.
Subs: Moon, Spence, Vaughan, Ellis, Murray, Trialist, Matthews, McCroary, Laidlaw (GK)
Hibs: Williams, Stevenson, McGivern, Hanlon, Jones, McPake, Harris, Taiwo, Caldwell, Handling, Craig.
Subs: Cairney, Forster, Horribine, Gold, Stanton, Donaldson, Mullen, Murdoch (GK)
Ref: John McKendrick