Return to Raith Rovers midfield is ‘happy days’ for Grant Gillespie

Stark's Park - Kirkcaldy - Fife -  Raith v Stenhousemuir - Grant Gillespie celebrates scoring credit- Fife Photo Agency
Stark's Park - Kirkcaldy - Fife - Raith v Stenhousemuir - Grant Gillespie celebrates scoring credit- Fife Photo Agency

Grant Gillespie is hoping to retain his position in midfield after capping an excellent performance with a goal in the 5-1 win over Stenhousemuir on Saturday.

The 27-year-old, signed in the summer following his release from Dundee United, has featured at right-back in recent matches since returning from a nine-week injury lay-off.

While he is no stranger to right back, having featured there during his time with Hamilton in the Premiership, he admits he is happier in the middle of the park.

“Midfield is where I want to play, and if I can stay there, happy days!” Gillespie told the Press.

“I knew when I came back into the team after injury, and the gaffer asked me to fill in at right back, that it would be hard to change a winning team.

“As long as the team is winning, that’s the main thing, so I just had to keep playing well at right back, and make sure that when I got my chance in midfield that I took it.

“Now hopefully I’ve done enough to stay there.”

Gillespie’s performance not only earned him the man of the match vote from the fans, it also saw him named Star Man in this week’s SPFL Team of the Week.

“I’ve played right back a lot, but my attributes probably aren’t best suited to playing there,” he added.

“I feel in the middle of the park is where I can really show what I can do.

“Obviously it’s about being consistent as well, and not just playing one good game then having a bad game next week.

“That’s the most important thing for me, and for the team. I don’t think we’ve been consistent enough at all this season.

“It’s important for the team to go to Airdrie next week and put on the same performance.”

A particularly pleasing feature for Raith on Saturday was five different scorers coming from defence, midfield and attack, especially after losing top scorer Kevin Nisbet to an early injury.

“It’s important we have other sources of goals,” Gillespie said. “Nizzy going off is a big loss for us, and hopefully it’s not too bad, but it was important that Dugs came on and got his goal, as well as Vaughny getting on scoresheet.

“The defenders probably haven’t got us much goals this season as they’d like but Davo and Muzza popped up with a goal this week.

“I was delighted to get on the scoresheet too. It was a bad clearance from the goalkeeper, and I managed to go by one of the last defenders.

“I heard Dugs screaming for a cut back so luckily enough it went in and I didn’t get too much grief.”

Gillespie says Raith must now focus on stringing a run of victories together in order to capitalise on any slip-ups from runaway leaders Arbroath.

“It’s got to happen for us to even think about winning the league,” he said. “It’s up to us to go and show that everything we’re working on in training is paying off.

“It’s just about putting in the hard work and believing that if we do the basics right and work harder than teams, we will beat teams.”