'We're in title race for the long haul': Raith Rovers defender Euan Murray reckons side can still overhaul Dundee United despite recent poor run
After recent disappointments, Ian Murray’s team are four points behind leaders United – who they have beaten and drawn with in the league this term – with the Tannadice side being Raith’s next fixture a week on Friday as they host Jim Goodwin’s outfit on league duty.
"You'd like to think we can stay with Dundee United for the whole season,” ex-Hartlepool United centre-back Murray, 30, told the Fife Free Press. "I think the first half of the season's certainly shown that it's not a fluke in terms of the amount of points we managed to put together.
"Some of the performances - especially at Tannadice - and a couple of the performances at East End Park that we've put in, have shown we are more than capable of competing.
"Dundee United obviously have a lot of strength in depth in their squad. They have a really good manager and squad so they are rightly favourites.
"They'll fancy their chances as much as anyone. As someone who has been in this league and won it (with Kilmarnock in season 2021-22) any time you look further ahead to the next week is when you start getting yourself into a bit of bother.
"The way we have started the season, we have not written ourselves out of it.
"You can see Dundee United have real quality in their side, especially in the forward areas. Tony Watt and Louis Moult are really, really good players at this level, obviously SPL players really.
"But it's one of these leagues that it doesn't mater who you're playing, there's not an easy game.
"There's a lot of different challenges. You come up against the likes of Queen's Park one week who are all about possession and trying to dominate the ball.
"Airdrie are a bit like that. And then you can go away to Morton and they've got target men up top, they hit them early and they get up on second balls.
"So it's a really, really competitive league. I've actually been really impressed by the standard since I was away and then came back.
"I think it's got better. The run Morton are on shows every team fancies their chances once they get a wee bit of momentum.”
Murray is urging his side to keep cool heads heading into the final months of the season, having done this in the Killie title-winning squad of three years ago.
"Winning the Championship with Kilmarnock was definitely a career highlight for me,” he added. "I loved my time there, it was brilliant. I learned so much over that year as well.
"There was obviously an element of pressure when we were trying to win the league.
"But in fairness to the manager at the time, Derek McInnes, he addressed it, he spoke about it and he spoke about playing under pressure and how you have to go and deal with that if you want to go and win a league title. It wasn't something that any of us hid away from.
"We spoke about it, we addressed it, we knew there were going to be big pressure moments in games, but we also backed ourselves to come through it.
"It's so important having that cool head when it comes down to these sort of games.
"We had some brilliant players in the squad, players that had been there and done it at top levels, international players at times with Chris Burke and Kyle Lafferty.
"You come up against games where you are under pressure but ultimately that's what you play football for.
“You want to play with that feeling of knowing there is something on it.
"Generally speaking when you are in these games you know you are doing something right at the top end of a league table.
"It's a lot better being there than the pressure of a relegation battle."