Scotland U21 star happy to swap Hearts bench for Raith first team

Liam Smith was delighted to swap another Saturday afternoon on the Hearts bench for a place in the Raith Rovers starting line-up after signing a one-month loan deal.
New Raith loan signing Liam Smith. Copyright - Fife Photo AgencyNew Raith loan signing Liam Smith. Copyright - Fife Photo Agency
New Raith loan signing Liam Smith. Copyright - Fife Photo Agency

After making 11 appearances for the Scottish Premiership side last season, the Scotland Under 21 right back has found first team opportunities limited at Tynecastle this term.

With Callum Paterson, a full international, ahead of him in the pecking order, Smith was more than happy to drop to the Scottish Championship for the chance of first team football, making his Rovers debut in the 3-2 win over Dumbarton on Saturday.

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“On Friday afternoon the gaffer pulled me aside and said that Raith Rovers wanted to take me for a bit so I jumped at the chance to come and play games at a good level,” he said.

“I played in the Europa League at the start of the season but with Calum not going in the transfer window, I’ve been on the bench since then.

“I played 45 up at Aberdeen and that’s as much as I’ve had this season.

“Calum is one of the best right backs in the country and is now starting for Scotland so I’m not disappointed at all.

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“I’ve just got to bide my time, but to get the opportunity to come here has been great.”

Smith is a born and bred Fifer, he lives just 15 minutes drive from Stark’s Park in Dalgety Bay. He was previously farmed out to East Fife in League Two in season 2014-15 and will spend the next month providing injury cover for club captain Jason Thomson.

“I don’t know what the situation is with Jason so I’m here until the end of October and if I can play as many games as possible that would be great,” he said.

“I know Kevin McHattie from Hearts, Ross Matthews, and I worked under the gaffer in my first year at Hearts, so I know a few faces.

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“With Jason injured, and myself needing games, it definitely works for both parties.”

Smith was delighted to play his part in a Rovers victory on Saturday.

“They were saying before the game that they wanted to stop the rot after three defeats and for the first hour we were really good,” he said.

“We let them back into the game, but I think the victory was the most important thing to put pressure on the teams above us.”