Rovers wary of hungry Lions

Stirling Albion - Raith Rovers-29 Nov 14-Grant Murray & Laurie Ellis at Forthbank.
Stirling Albion - Raith Rovers-29 Nov 14-Grant Murray & Laurie Ellis at Forthbank.

Raith Rovers manager Grant Murray is expecting to face a fired-up Livingston side on Saturday following their recent points deduction.

Livingston were subtracted five points and fined £10,000 by the SPFL after failing to pay tax on undeclared bonuses, leaving the West Lothian outfit seven points adrift at the foot of the Championship table.

Saturday’s visit to Stark’s Park will be the Lions first game since receiving the punishment.

“There will be a reaction from their players and we’ve got to be wary of that,” Murray explained. “Off the field there’s a lot of stuff going on at Livingtson but on the field I’m sure their players will be totally focused.

“Their job is to go on park and try and get things going there. They’ll regroup as a squad and aim to claw back points as quickly as possible.

“They didn’t have a game at the weekend so they’ll have had a chance to reflect on things that have happened.

“We’ve got to use Saturday’s result as a confidence booster for us and kick on from there.”

Saturday will be the third home match in a row where Raith have faced the league’s bottom club following the 1-1 draw with Alloa and 2-1 victory Cowdenbeath.

In both of those matches Raith had to fight back after losing the first goal and Murray does not want a repeat on Saturday.

“We want to take the performance from the second half against Cowdenbeath and bring it right from the start,” Murray said.

“We want to be going at teams from the first whistle, trying to get that elusive first goal that every team wants in our league, because it’s massive.

“Games that we’ve went ahead in, we’ve won, it’s as simple as that. That’s the sign of a good, confident team and we want to get back to that.

“It’s great to have that spirit and character to turn things around when you go behind, but we want to be starting games well, getting on top, and really showing what we’re capable of doing.”

Raith produced a more eye-catching attacking performance in Saturday’s Scottish Cup win over Stirling but, despite the clean sheet, the defending left a lot to be desired, with goalkeeper David McGurn in top form.

“You always want better,” Murray said. “We work on a lot of things Monday to Friday as much as we can.

“Confidence builds things. We got a clean sheet on Saturday now we want to maintain that.

“Davie is playing fantastic but we want to limit his saves as much as we can. He had to wait for his opportunity just to get back into the 17 - now he’s got the number one jersey and it’s credit to him for the way he’s fought back.

“We all knew how good a goalkeeper he is and we’re delighted for him.”

After disposing of two underdogs in the previous rounds of the Scottish Cup, it will be roles reversed for Rovers in the last 16 as Monday’s draw handed them a tough trip to Ibrox to face Rangers.

Rovers have been on the end of two heavy defeats to Rangers this season after beating the Glasgow giants in the Ramdens Cup final in April.

Murray added: “It’s a big game to look forward to.

“There’s no point saying we’d have preferred a different draw, this is what we’ve been given, and come February 7 we’ll be right up for it.

“We know first hand how difficult a place it is to go, but it’s a cup tie, and we’ve got to use that to help us on the day.”

There was the welcome sight of Craig Barr in a Raith strip for the first time this week as the defender played 60 minutes of Tuesday night’s development league match against Stirling Albion, which finished 2-2.

Murray added: “He’ll want two or three 90 minutes under his belt before getting involved on a Saturday. He’s a fit lad but he’s got to make sure the injury is properly cleared and healed up.”

Liam Fox is a doubt after missing the game against Stirling with a rib injury.

Away from the game, Rovers have teamed up with Kirkcaldy Foodbank and the recently formed Raith Rovers Community Foundation to create a “one-day” foodbank collection point at Stark’s Park before Saturday’s game against Livingston.

Kirkcaldy Foodbank is run and supported by volunteers and has been operating in the town since last December. In that time, it has provided emergency food parcels to over 4000 adults and children.

The Foodbank welcome donations of any non-perishable foodstuffs, which has not past its “best before” date.

The collection point will be at the turnstiles at the Val McDermid Stand and will be open from 1.00 p.m to 3.00 p.m.