View from the Terrace: Current squad can put the fun back into watching Raith Rovers

Raith players celebrate Kieron Bowie's first senior goal against Peterhead in the Betfred Cup. Pic: George McLuskie
Raith players celebrate Kieron Bowie's first senior goal against Peterhead in the Betfred Cup. Pic: George McLuskie

Shaughan McGuigan is an avid Raith Rovers fan and panellist on the BBC Scotland programme, A View From The Terrace.

Supporting Raith Rovers hasn’t exactly been a case of sunshine and rainbows in recent years.

Probably since around May 2016 to be honest, when Gary Locke swept into Stark’s Park and began building his bloated squad of ne’erdowells.

John Hughes’ attempts at arresting the slide was completely ineffectual, producing only rambling press bites and an eventual relegation at the hands of a Brechin City team who would go onto become the worst second tier side of all time.

Barry Smith could at least argue that he was unlucky that his 75 points tally didn’t win League One in 2018, but there’s no getting away from the fact that his side was a tough watch.

As for John McGlynn, the latest incumbent of the Rovers managerial seat, his opening game upon his return last season seemed to suggest there was a far more enjoyable style of play in the offing.

The 5-1 away win at Dumbarton was as complete performance as Raith have put in in some time, but that proved to be something of a false dawn.

The standard of football was incrementally better, but it had a soft centre, virtually no consistency, and ultimately, difficult to like.

Ground out 1-0 wins are something which Rovers have lacked in recent seasons, but that’s exactly what they put together at Dumbarton on the opening day, but it was the 5-2 win over Clyde at the weekend which suggests that this Raith team might just be something that they haven’t been in a long time. Fun.

Concerns were rightly raised about the loss of Kevin Nisbet, but with five separate goal scorers on Saturday and an abundance of chances created, those fears are slightly allayed, while the fact that both wins have come without Lewis Vaughan and Tony Dingwall, both of whom aren’t due back from injury until next month is heartening.

While winning the title may seem like a long shot, McGlynn has done something which will at the very least get fans onside, he’s created a squad who the supporters genuinely seem to have taken to.

David McGurn and Grant Anderson were fan favourites first time around, and they’ve already proven their worth in the opening weeks of this campaign, with some fine performances.

Regan Hendry continues to stick out like a partially sighted cobbler’s thumb in the middle of the park, while the return of Vaughan and Dingwall will further augment the squad both in numbers, and more crucially, quality.

On top of all that, the emergence of local 16-year-old Kieran Bowie, Rovers best prospect since Vaughan, is something to be excited about.

Bowie is the least teenage-looking teenager since 30-year-old Olivia Newton John played Sandy in Grease, and while his physique was probably a blow to his parents, whom he presumably ate out of house and home, it’s been a massive help to his introduction to the rough and tumble of League One.

His physicality, allied with pace, persistence and an ability to beat a man, means that the youngster looks to have a genuine chance to go far in the game.

Two games might be a tiny sample size, but regardless of how the season pans out, the signs suggest that for the first time in a few years, it’ll at least be a decent watch.