We’ve got to be harder to beat, says Raith boss

Raith Rovers will hope to put their Scottish Cup disappointment behind them when they return to league business this Saturday.

Rovers welcome Greenock Morton to Stark’s Park, a side 13 points adrift at the foot of the Championship, although they are not the worst team in the league over the last 10 games.

That unwanted tag belongs to a Raith side that has taken only three points from the last 30 having failed to pick up a league win since December 14.

The horrendous run has seen Rovers slip from title hopefuls to relegation play-off contenders, and Saturday is now a crucial game for the club.

The key for manager Grant Murray will be plugging a defence that has leaked 17 goals over the last six games, including four at home to both Hamilton and Falkirk.

“We want to keep the back door shut in as many games as we can,” Murray told the Press.

“We’re scoring goals but we want to be capable of keeping clean sheets, or as close to that as possible, to give ourselves a chance of winning games.

“Performances have been pleasing, we’re scoring goals which is the biggest part of football, but we’ve got to make ourselves harder to beat.

“We’re at home this Saturday so first and foremost we’ll be setting out to win the game.”

Rovers have collected five points from their three previous meetings with Morton this season, with two draws at Cappielow either side of a 2-1 home win in October that required an injury-time winner from Gordon Smith.

“I’m totally surprised to see Morton where they are - there has been nothing between the sides in our matches this season,” Murray said.

“They have some experienced players who won’t be enjoying the position they are in. We know we’re in for a tough game.”

Murray is hoping that returning defender Paul Watson, who made his comeback from a broken foot against St Johnstone, will help to settle the back four.

“It’s great to get a player of Paul’s calibre back,” Murray said.

“We were doing well earlier in the season when he was in the side and we were happy enough with the way he slotted back in on Saturday.

“He’s a talker and a leader on the pitch so hopefully this helps the team all round.”

While Raith fans are looking anxiously over their shoulders at Cowdenbeath, Murray insists the promotion play-offs are still within reach.

“It’s not outwith our reach,” Murray stressed. “Who knows where a run could take us, but before you can go on a run you need one win, and that’s all we’re focusing on at the moment.”

Rovers travel to Dens Park for a re-arranged league match against Dundee on Tuesday night as they embark on a run of five league games in 14 days.

“You never know what injuries you might pick up, and we’ve got a few players close to picking up suspensions, so we’ll be relying on everyone in the squad over the next few weeks,” Murray added.

Rovers will again be without injured duo Calum Elliot and David McGurn, although John Baird returns to the squad after being cup tied.