Raith Rovers fully focused on play-offs after title disappointment

Rovers aim to grasp their second chance at promotion to the Premiership.

Ian Murray: Raith Rovers fully focused on play-offs after title disappointment SNS Group

Raith Rovers manager Ian Murray insists their title disappointment is well out of their system as they go into their cinch Premiership play-off campaign in fine fettle.

Rovers topped the Championship after a derby win over Dunfermline on January 2 but lost their next three league games to hand the initiative to Dundee United.

They got back level on points but missed the chance to go top again on March 1 when they lost a two-goal lead at bottom club Arbroath, ultimately finishing six points adrift.

However, they go into Tuesday’s semi-final first leg against Partick Thistle in decent form and unbeaten against the Jags all season, and Murray believes they have banished any lingering regrets over the title battle.

“That was out of our mind pretty quickly,” said Murray, whose side’s 5-0 win over Arbroath ensured they finished 14 points clear of the Jags.

“Yeah, we were desperate to win the league, of course we were, for numerous reasons but the obvious ones being promotion and professional pride.

“Look, I have no complaints with how the league finished, it’s over 36 games and if you win the league or you are not lucky, you’re not unlucky if you get relegated, you have 36 opportunities to do something about it.

“We were very, very happy with where we finished, really positive, 20 wins out of 36 games. Of course we would have liked to have gone one further and been top of the pile but it wasn’t to be so now we look forward to the play-offs.

“Obviously the last league game was good, a few goals, another clean sheet, that’s four in a row, and two defeats in 10. So that’s good, just in terms of mentality.

“I have stressed all season to the players, if we are not going to win the league, let’s get second place. It is a big thing to be second, you miss a round of games and get a little bit more rest. But I expect Partick Thistle to come out firing regardless.”

Murray has told his players to play the long game at Firhill against Kris Doolan’s side, who beat Airdrie 4-3 on aggregate in the quarter-finals as they look to go one better than last year.

“The first leg is always a wee bit different because it’s never normally won or lost in that leg,” the former Airdrie manager said.

“It’s about remaining calm and trying to remember that it’s a long one, a two-legged scenario which can change really quickly.

“If you panic and lose focus a little bit, it can go really quickly. I always think play-off games can be particularly harsh sometimes on teams.

“You don’t have to look any further than last season’s final to be honest. Partick had a remarkable run with Kris in charge, played really, really well in the play-offs, and 20 minutes undid them in the end. That’s the cruel reality of it all.

“We have to make sure that doesn’t happen to us, which I am quite sure won’t, we have some good experience in the changing room, albeit not with the play-offs here but at other clubs. We will try and get a positive result and bring it back here.”

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code
Posted in