Victory a credit to Raith’s invention

Greig Spence celebrates after putting Raith Rovers 2-1 ahead against St Mirren (picture by Eddie Doig)
Greig Spence celebrates after putting Raith Rovers 2-1 ahead against St Mirren (picture by Eddie Doig)

Hard work, a flexible game plan and a desire to win helped Raith Rovers overcome higher league opposition last weekend in the Irn Bru Challenge Cup.

Success against Championship table-toppers St Mirren has also given them an assured, assertive outlook for the return this Saturday to league football – their principal priority.

Rovers, on the back of their first defeat of the season at Coatbridge a week earlier, fell behind in the second half to the Buddies, whom they knew well from last season, in the cup match at Paisley.

But they were level within half a minute through Lewis Vaughan, while further goals from Greig Spence and Bobby Barr gave them a fine 3-1 win.

Their reward from Tuesday’s quarter-final draw will be a November visit to Dumbarton.

Manager Barry Smith indicated Raith were, as usual, focusing on each game as it came.

“We go into every game to win and Saturday was no different,” he said.

“We had a lot of injuries and a lot of niggles, which dictated what team we were able to play, but the boys were excellent on the day and worked very hard to get the result.

“They can take a lot of confidence from a good, disciplined performance against a team riidng high at the top of the Championship.

“The fact we are in the next round is brilliant, but even more important is the confidence it will give the players, which will be more beneficial.”

Rovers had set themselves out in a way they thought would win them the game, said the manager.

“The boys listened to what we asked them to do and put it into practice, and that’s why we got the result,” he said.

Fortunately, with a large number of players already on the treatment table, there were no more injuries from the St Mirren match to add to the list, as Smith set about forming the line-up for this weekend’s visit by Arbroath.

“It’s not easy with a small squad but you have to deal with it and get on with it,” he said. “You can only deal with what’s in front of you.”

Smith said the squad was looking forward to a return to Stark’s Park and eager to get back in front of their home fans.

“Arbroath haven’t been beaten in a year away from home, so we know it will be a very difficult match,” he said.

“The way they set up will make it difficult but we have to combat that and do better than that, and the boys have been working towards that through the week.”

Arbroath’s recent form on the road has included a big 6-2 win at Stranraer, and Smith observed they had a lot of experienced players in their team .

Raith would have to be on top of their game from the opening stages, he said.

“We take each game as it comes – we were delighted we won on Saturday, so we move on very quickly to the game with Arbroath and hope to get three points,” he added.

Just minutes before the Irn Bru Cup draw was made on Tuesday, Smith commented that all the teams going into the hat were good.

“We are the only team from Leeague One left in it, which is a credit to the boys,” he added. “The tie will not be for another few weeks, so we will deal with it when it comes round.”