Sam Stanton scores third goal in three games v Dunfermline to help Raith Rovers into fourth round of Scottish Cup

Raith Rovers extended their current unbeaten run to nine games with a 3-0 Fife derby victory away to Dunfermline Athletic last night, November 24, to make it into the fourth round of this season’s Scottish Cup.
Raith Rovers' Lewis Vaughan getting past Dunfermline's Joe Chalmers during their sides' Scottish Cup tie at East End Park on Friday (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group)Raith Rovers' Lewis Vaughan getting past Dunfermline's Joe Chalmers during their sides' Scottish Cup tie at East End Park on Friday (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group)
Raith Rovers' Lewis Vaughan getting past Dunfermline's Joe Chalmers during their sides' Scottish Cup tie at East End Park on Friday (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group)

That televised win at East End Park was also their third in a row against the Pars following ones by 1-0 home and away in the Scottish Championship at the end of last month and in August respectively.

The Kirkcaldy club, playing in a 3-6-1 formation, went in front on the quarter-hour mark and never looked likely to lose that lead from then on in their first Scottish Cup meeting with Athletic since January 2019.

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Striker Jack Hamilton opened their account in front of a crowd of 5,243 with a close-range shot set up by a Dylan Easton assist for his fourth goal in three matches since returning from injury.

Raith Rovers manager Ian Murray at full-time after Friday's 3-0 Scottish Cup win against Dunfermline Athletic at East End Park (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group)Raith Rovers manager Ian Murray at full-time after Friday's 3-0 Scottish Cup win against Dunfermline Athletic at East End Park (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group)
Raith Rovers manager Ian Murray at full-time after Friday's 3-0 Scottish Cup win against Dunfermline Athletic at East End Park (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group)

Midfielder Sam Stanton doubled their advantage on 65 minutes, firing home a loose ball from a deflection off Hamilton following a Josh Mullin free-kick for his third goal against Dunfermline in as many games.

It only took visiting forward Lewis Vaughan a further five minutes to quell any faint hopes their hosts might have had of a comeback after he caught out home goalkeeper Deniz Mehmet at his near post from a free-kick just outside the box as a sequel to his hat-trick against the Pars in a 3-0 Scottish Cup fourth-round victory at home at Stark’s Park almost five years ago.

Dunfermline had a chance to at least get on the scoresheet ten minutes from full-time after being awarded a controversial penalty – earning one yellow card from referee William Collum for debutant defender Daniel O’Reilly and another for winger Aidan Connolly for protesting, taking the visitors’ tally for the night to five – but they were denied even that scant consolation as visiting goalkeeper Kevin Dabrowski was able to keep out Northern Irish international forward Lewis McCann’s spot-kick.

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Rovers manager Ian Murray was pleased by how his side took command of their first Scottish Cup tie at East End Park since 1985, telling Raith TV afterwards: “I was delighted with our performance.

Captain Scott Brown celebrating at full-time after leading Raith Rovers to a 3-0 third-round Scottish Cup tie victory at Dunfermline Athletic's East End Park on Friday (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group)Captain Scott Brown celebrating at full-time after leading Raith Rovers to a 3-0 third-round Scottish Cup tie victory at Dunfermline Athletic's East End Park on Friday (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group)
Captain Scott Brown celebrating at full-time after leading Raith Rovers to a 3-0 third-round Scottish Cup tie victory at Dunfermline Athletic's East End Park on Friday (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group)

“Our performance levels were really, really high individually and as a team unit.

“To a man, we were outstanding because Dunfermline are a good side and we’ve found it incredibly difficult against them, not just to win games but to create chances.

“I wasn’t trying to be smart by changing formation – I know what can happen when it goes terribly wrong – but I was looking at it and thinking how do we change these games to show how good we are and create more opportunities to try and win.

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“There was no guarantee we were going to win the game regardless of how well we played but we executed our game-plan very, very well.

Raith Rovers midfielder Sam Stanton and Dunfermline's Kane Ritchie-Hosler in action during their sides' third-round Scottish Cup tie at East End Park on Friday (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group)Raith Rovers midfielder Sam Stanton and Dunfermline's Kane Ritchie-Hosler in action during their sides' third-round Scottish Cup tie at East End Park on Friday (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group)
Raith Rovers midfielder Sam Stanton and Dunfermline's Kane Ritchie-Hosler in action during their sides' third-round Scottish Cup tie at East End Park on Friday (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group)

“I wanted to get as many good players on the park as I could and I left another four really good players out, desperately unluckily, but you can only pick 11.

“I thought our formation worked really well. I wasn’t trying to be a smart Alec and come here and turn our rivals over like we did, though I wanted obviously to win the game.

“Dunfermline are very good in wide areas. They play expansive football. I wanted to cover those wide areas and I did that with Aidan and Callum Smith, both out of position, and kept our diamond in midfield because I feel dominating the middle of the park is important.

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“When you’ve got a striker like Jack Hamilton, you can play just the one up top. If you don’t have a Jack Hamiltion, it’s very difficult to play one as a striker.

Dunfermline's Aaron Comrie and Raith Rovers' Callum Smith vying for the ball during their teams' Scottish Cup tie at East End Park on Friday (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group)Dunfermline's Aaron Comrie and Raith Rovers' Callum Smith vying for the ball during their teams' Scottish Cup tie at East End Park on Friday (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group)
Dunfermline's Aaron Comrie and Raith Rovers' Callum Smith vying for the ball during their teams' Scottish Cup tie at East End Park on Friday (Photo by Mark Scates/SNS Group)

“I thought our back three were immense. They were so composed, in possession and out, and we limited Dunfermline to very, very few chances.”

The draw for the cup’s fourth round will take place tomorrow evening, with 32 clubs featuring – 12 Scottish Premiership clubs and the winners of this weekend’s 20 third-round ties.

It will be broadcast live on on BBC Scotland, with coverage starting at 7.15pm.