Raith boss hoping VAR won't play starring role in Premiership play-off

Only Ross County stand between Raith Rovers and a place in the top flight next season.

Ian Murray doesn’t want VAR decisions to be the main talking point from the Premiership play-off final and would much rather the game was decided on a moment of quality.

Raith Rovers are two games away from promotion and the Rovers boss is hopeful the technology won’t play a starring role in the season’s finale.

Only Ross County stand between the Kirkcaldy side and a place among the big boys next season after an impressive campaign in the Championship.

The Stark’s Park club ran Dundee United all the way in the league before finishing second and then got past Partick Thistle in a hard fought semi-final to set up a winner takes all clash against the Highlanders.

Raith will have home advantage for the first leg on Thursday before travelling to Dingwall for the decisive game on Sunday afternoon.

They have the chance to return to the top flight of Scottish football for the first time since 1997 but former Hibs, Rangers and Scotland international Murray knows County will be a tough nut to crack.

He said: “It will be a really tough tie, that’s for sure.

“The league table suggests they’ve not had a great season, but if you look at results throughout the season – they beat Hibernian not too long ago, they beat Rangers.

“They’ve obviously been through a couple of managers, but that’s football and that happens. I still think they’re a good squad with individual players and a good team unit.”

VAR will be in operation for both legs against County and it will be the first time Raith Rovers have played with the technology in operation at Stark’s Park.

When asked if he thought that would change anything for the game, Murray was adamant that his players would acclimatise to the system, but was hoping it wouldn’t be a deciding factor.

He said: “We had a chat this afternoon with Crawford (head of referees Crawford Allan) to go over the regulations of the whole thing.

“I think we have probably enjoyed not having it in our league this season when you look at the problems it has had. There is obviously good points and bad points to it but I think our league in particular is just blood and thunder all the time, it’s end to end and that has been shown by the amount of goals that have been scored this season throughout the league.

“But we will adapt to it, and as footballers and staff we know what to expect.

“We will have to be a bit more careful, a bit more cautious than we normally would be, but look you get bad decisions and good because that’s just human nature – all VAR does is put it under the microscope a little bit more and the rules are carried out to the letter of the law, which can sometimes be harsh on players.

“I hope that come Sunday afternoon it’s not VAR that has decided who’s going to the Premiership or who’s stayed in the Premiership, I want it to be moments of quality in the game.”

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