St Andrews United: Boss Robbie Raeside backs his Saints promotion heroes despite 5-4 loss which ends unbeaten run at 22 games

Robbie Raeside has led St Andrews United to promotion this season (Pic Scott Louden)Robbie Raeside has led St Andrews United to promotion this season (Pic Scott Louden)
Robbie Raeside has led St Andrews United to promotion this season (Pic Scott Louden)
St Andrews United manager Robbie Raeside has hailed his “magnificent” players for sealing promotion this season and refused to slate them for partying the day before Saturday’s 5-4 home loss to leaders Whitburn which ended Saints’ unbeaten run in the East of Scotland League second division at 22 games.

An eventful fixture saw Raeside’s second-placed men take the lead, go 5-1 down but then pull three goals back (match report on page 31) toreach 71 points with two games remaining, nine points behind Whitburn who have three matches left.

“It was a crazy game on Saturday,” Raeside told the Herald and Citizen. “It was a bit ridiculous. I think if we’d defended at even 10% of how we’ve defended all season, we’d have got a win.

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"I felt we scored some really good goals but we defended ridiculously poorly considering we had only conceded 22 league goals all season before that. That’s what disappointed me.

"I think the players had all been out the previous day celebrating our promotion. A few of them were genuinely struggling, as in not feeling the best.

"I can’t knock that because promotion is a great achievement. Even if we’d beaten Whitburn on Saturday we wouldn’t have won the league because they have a game in hand.

"I’m not having a go at the players at all here because they’ve been magnificent.

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"But you’ve got to give Whitburn a bit of credit. We’ve played three or four teams from the league above this season and I think Whitburn are the best team we’ve played.

"Whitburn can pass the ball about well in midfield and they’re very strong up front .

"But fair play to my players as well, they showed great team spirit and battling qualities to come back to 5-4.

"We had a chance when the ball flew across the face of goal in the last few minutes and we nearly got something, which would have been ridiculous.”

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Raeside expects the last two league games – starting with this Saturday’s trip to Stirling University for a 2.30pm kick-off – to be difficult due to heavy injury and illness problems in his squad.

Youngsters will be played and he expects to start newly signed central midfielder/striker Ryan McManus who has arrived from St Andrews Amateurs.

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