Raith striker Lewis Vaughan delighted with double on return from injury

Lewis Vaughan, pursued by Liam Buchanan, celebrates after scoring within a minute of coming off the bench against Forfar. Pic: Fife Photo Agency
Lewis Vaughan, pursued by Liam Buchanan, celebrates after scoring within a minute of coming off the bench against Forfar. Pic: Fife Photo Agency

Lewis Vaughan admitted that he is still not match fit despite scoring twice on his return from injury.

The Raith Rovers striker made an instant impact in his first appearance of the season, coming off the bench to hit a double in the 4-0 win over Forfar Athletic at Stark's Park on Saturday, his first coming just a minute after replacing the injured Kevin Nisbet.

Vaughan looked to have lost none of the sharpness that saw him net 23 times last season, and earn a nomination for League One Player of the Year, but the 22-year-old admitted that his best is yet to come as he steps up his return from groin surgery.

"It's been a long time coming for me," he said.

"I picked up what I thought was a wee niggle at the end of last season.

"I tried to rest it over the off-season, but it didn't work out how we thought it would.

"It just stayed with me and got worse.

"Even though it was a small procedure, it put me out of the game for three and a half months.

"I'm just delighted to get back on the pitch, but more importantly score goals and get the win.

"I'm still a wee bit off being match fit, but this was just my first week back training, and my first game, so it's expected.

"I had a bit of rustiness and I wasn't happy when I gave it away a few times, but I've tried to look after myself so that when I came back, I'd be ready to go.

"It's hard when you're not playing, and you just want to play football, but hopefully I'm back now and that will be me ready to go for the season."

Vaughan has had to watch from the sidelines as an injury-hit side initially struggled with defeats to Cowdenbeath and Cove Rangers in the Betfred Cup, followed by dropped points in the league away to Stranraer and at home to East Fife.

However, following back-to-back wins over Airdrie and Forfar, and with injuries beginning to clear up, Vaughan is confident the team can kick on.

"The team has been brilliant this season, we've just not had the rub of the green," he said.

"But we've got three or four strikers now chipping in with goals.

"We've got a really good squad, and hopefully there's something special to come."

Raith boss Barry Smith was delighted with the impact of Vaughan, but also with the overall team performance.

"He was only supposed to get half an hour based on his fitness levels, so it was good to get him on the pitch, and back scoring goals," he said.

"He's capable of doing that but the hard work of the other players allowed us to make that substitution.

"From start to finish the boys were excellent, and I think it continued from last week's game where we get that late victory.

"They showed a real good appetite for the game, and I think we controlled it.

"We'll take the pat on the back, but it's now about consistency and doing that week in, week out.

"It's the early part of the season, but if we play like that we won't be far away."