Smith upbeat as Raith Rovers ready for Morton match

Paul Smith praised his players’ powers of recovery ahead of this weekend’s match with Morton.
Raith Rovers assistant boss Paul Smith (Picture: Michael Gillen)Raith Rovers assistant boss Paul Smith (Picture: Michael Gillen)
Raith Rovers assistant boss Paul Smith (Picture: Michael Gillen)

The Raith Rovers assistant boss said he was pleased with how the team responded to a poor first-half showing to end strongly during their 1-1 draw with Dundee at Den’s Park.

He says Rovers will have to show the same resilience during their Championship clash with David Hopkins’ men at Stark’s Park this Saturday.

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“I was disappointed with the way we played in the first half,” he said. “We didn't play our normal passing game, but credit to Dundee, they got in about us and made it very difficult for us.

Craig Barr celebrates his goal in Raith Rovers' 2-0 win over Morton in 2017 at Stark's Park.Craig Barr celebrates his goal in Raith Rovers' 2-0 win over Morton in 2017 at Stark's Park.
Craig Barr celebrates his goal in Raith Rovers' 2-0 win over Morton in 2017 at Stark's Park.

"We had a couple of chances in the first five minutes. Ross Matthews had a chance that could have led to a goal, but it was a fiat, scrappy 15-20 minutes after that, and certainly for the last 20 minutes of the first half, Dundee took control of the game and Charlie Adam did what Charlie Adam does.

"Give him time on that left foot, he's going to pick out the bottom corner, which he did and punished us just before half-time.

"When we came in, the players were disappointed in their first-half performance because we weren't passing the ball as well as we have been, albeit the conditions were terrible.

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“We hadn't been doing the things that we had so well in previous games, so in the second half we gradually got ourselves back into the game, and I felt that for the last 15-20 minutes we were the better team.

“We were certainly pushing for an equaliser.

"At the end of the day, we’re delighted to come away from a difficult place with a point.

“It's all credit to the players. They have been magnificent this season so far.

"They gave it a real go in the second half.

“They dug in at times and justifiably got the draw.”

Rovers will now turn their attention to the visit of Morton, who sit just one point behind them in the Championship table.

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The sides haven’t met since April 15, 2017, when Rovers were victors in a 2-0 win in the Championship with goals from Craig Barr and Ross Matthews.

“They've had two good wins at home and they ran Dundee very close as well (losing 1-0) and were unlucky not to get a point, so it will be another very, very difficult game,” Smith said .

“They have a lot of experienced players in their team and we will have to be at our very best to take something out of the game.”

With the exception of runaway favourites for the title Hearts, Smith says there is little between the other sides in the league.

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“If you take Hearts out of the equation, I think there are a lot of teams closely matched,” he said.

“There are going to be a lot of tight games which could go either way.”

Raith go into the match with injury concerns over four players. Keiran MacDonald and Manny Duku have hamstring problems, Iain D avidson suffered a dead leg against Dundee and captain Kyle Benedictus has a groin issue.

“I think the game might come too quickly for Macca and Manny's hamstring had tightened up last Thursday night,” said Smith .

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“With the type of player he is with explosive running, we didn't want to risk putting him out there and losing him for four or five weeks, so we will assess him this week

“Hopefully, Davo and Bene will train on Thursday and be OK.”