Raith seek immediate reaction to Rangers rout

Lewis Vaughan fouled by Darren McGregor. Raith v Rangers. Pic: Fife Photo Agency
Lewis Vaughan fouled by Darren McGregor. Raith v Rangers. Pic: Fife Photo Agency

Raith Rovers head for Livingston on Saturday with something to prove after Friday’s horror show against Rangers.

The Kirkcaldy side were roundly criticised for their performance as they were comprehensively beaten 4-0 at home in a game that was broadcast live on television.

Manager Grant Murray admitted that the squad was ‘hurting’ after the loss, but he wants to see an immediate reaction from his players.

“We need to bounce back from it right away,” he said.

“The Rangers game was a total disappointment, but we’ve got to move on, and we’ve got to learn from it.

“We felt we had started reasonably well but we made mistakes and Rangers were there to punish us every time.

“It’s difficult to account for individual errors. Every player makes them at every level of football but when it happens to your own team it’s disappointing.

“Rangers were strong on the night, and they were clinical, but from our point of view it’s about learning from things that went wrong.”

Murray admitted that games outwith the Championship’s big three - Hearts, Hibs and Rangers - take on extra significance.

“People will say Hearts, Hibs and Rangers will be up there at the end of the season,” he said.

“They are massive clubs and have bigger and stronger squads than everyone else.

“That makes the games you play outwith them very important.”

Raith’s record outwith the ‘big three’ thus far has been good with three wins out of three against Dumbarton, Alloa and Cowdenbeath.

“You always want more but we’re happy with the nine points,” Murray said.

“We felt we let ourselves down against Hearts and Rangers but looking back on it now, the nine points we’ve picked up is very important.

“They are games we deserved to win, but we had to be at our best.”

Murray believes Rovers can take confidence from those fixtures into the Livingston match on Saturday.

“You want to build confidence and belief,” he said.

“Livingston will be on a high after their result last Saturday.

“We were there, and they performed very well. They got themselves ahead early, and went on to score four goals.

“It’s always a tough place to go but from our point of view we should have that belief that we’ve already went away from home and won games.”

Three Rovers players required surgery last week with Dougie Hill (groin), Craig Barr (knee) and Kevin Cuthbert (shoulder) all going under the knife.

Hill is hopeful of a return in October while both Barr and Cuthbert are expected to be out until the end of the year.

“It’s a massive blow, but at the end of the day it needed done and sometimes it can help players come back quicker,” Murray said.

“We feel we still have a group of players capable of winning games of football.

“It’s up to other players to come in and take the opportunities that come along.”

Raith will include new loan signing Barrie McKay in the squad for the first time on Saturday while Christian Nade may return after a hamstring injury.

No case for the defence in 2014 ...

Raith Rovers 4-0 defeat to Rangers on Friday shone the spotlight on the team’s terrible defensive record at home in 2014.

Grant Murray’s men have lost 4-0 at Stark’s Park three times this season already - against York, Hearts and Rangers - and also lost by the same scoreline away to Dundee in the League Cup.

This continues a trend set in the second half of last season that saw Rovers lose four goals at home to Hamilton on February 15, Falkirk on March 1 and Livingston on March 22.

All of those matches finished 4-2 to the away side.

In total Raith have conceded a staggering 43 goals in their 17 home matches in 2014 thus far, losing four goals on six occasions.

You have to go back to October 29 last year - almost 11 months ago - to find Rovers last clean sheet at Stark’s Park, which was a 1-0 win at home to Livingston.

Raith have three more games to ensure they don’t go through a whole calendar year without a home clean sheet - against Falkirk on September 27, Queen of the South on October 10 and Alloa on October 25.

Rovers defensive record is a little better away from Stark’s Parkwith five clean sheets in 16 away games this year.

If Rovers are to have a successful season, they will certainly need to tighten up at home.