Politics

Raith Rovers boss Ian Murray heartened by side’s display despite defeat by Dundee


Raith Rovers' Sam Stanton coming up against Dundee's Shaun Byrne at Kirkcaldy's Stark's Park on Saturday (Picture: Fife Photo Agency)
Raith Rovers’ Sam Stanton coming up against Dundee’s Shaun Byrne at Kirkcaldy’s Stark’s Park on Saturday (Picture: Fife Photo Agency)

Murray says he was heartened by his side’s display during their first home game of the season at Kirkcaldy’s Starks Park, describing it as like “night and day” in comparison to their 2-0 defeat at Cove Rangers seven days earlier, and felt they could have picked up all three points but for opposition goalkeeper Harry Sharp’s heroics in keeping a clean sheet.

Only a 13th-minute Josh Mulligan goal separated the two sides and Murray felt his team were unlucky not to get at least an equaliser.

“It was a really typical championship game,” he told Raith TV afterwards. “It was fairly end to end, lots of physical battles, and I felt we actually did well in that aspect of the game.

Dundee players celebrating the 13th-minute Josh Mulligan goal that earned them victory at Kirkcaldy’s Stark’s Park on Saturday (Picture: Fife Photo Agency)

“We lost a poor goal early on but recovered really, really well and Jamie MacDonald didn’t have too much to do – in fact, nothing – in the first half.

“On the other hand, there was very good goalkeeping at the other end from the Dundee goalie.

“I felt the players for the 90 minutes today gave absolutely everything to the team, but sometimes it doesn’t fall for you.

“As disappointed and as frustrated as we are at losing a game of football, because we work all week to win games, today wasn’t our day, but if we replicate that, most weeks we’ll win games.

Ethan Ross on the ball for Raith Rovers against Dundee at Stark’s Park in Kirkcaldy on Saturday (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

“It could have been anything. It could have been, 1-1, 2-1, 3-1 to us on another day, but it’s fine lines in gootball and fine margins.

“Harry Sharp’s pulled out a very good stop in the first half and in the second half we got a wee deflection that sent the ball straight into his arms. If that goes anywhere else, it’s in the back of the net,

“Ethan Ross had an opportunity too – and he scores nine times out of ten – and we had another couple of wee half-chances.

“The players have got to keep their heads up. Today was a vast improvement on last Saturday. Today we went for it right until the very end.

Ross Millen in action for Raith Rovers during their 1-0 loss to Dundee at Stark’s Park in Kirkcaldy at the weekend (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

“The boys have just got to keep their heads up, be confident and trust themselves because if they play like that and work like that every week, we’ll win games.”

Murray, 41, reckons playing on-loan defender Kieran Ngwenya out of position was a ploy worth trying, though not for the full hour and a half.

“We just needed to freshen it up,” he said. “We bring players in to play. We knew we were putting Kieran in what is a slightly unusual position for him but he is effective going forward.

“It’s difficult for Kieran because he was in a different starting position on the park, and I felt in the first half he struggled a little bit just to understand the position, which you expect from young players, and we made a tactical change at half-time to put Ethan Ross out there and Dylan Easton in the middle of the park, which I felt worked very, very well.

New signing Connor O’Riordan on the ball for Raith Rovers at home to Dundee at the weekend (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

“Overall, I don’t have too many complaints about the players. They worked their socks off today. They gave us absolutely everything on the pitch.

“I think the supporters clapping them off at the end realised how much effort we put into that game.

“It’s not gone our way, but the positives were there and it was night and day from where we were this time last week.

“I know what I saw today. We can analyse all we want but I know what I saw today. I saw a hungry team, I saw a team willing to work hard for each other, willing to work hard for this football club.

“It takes time sometimes, but we want to win, obviously. Today that wasn’t the case but next week we’ve got another opportunity.”

Raith Rovers’ Sam Stanton being fouled by Dundee goal-scorer Josh Mulligan on Saturday (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
Liam Dick in action for Raith Rovers against Dundee at Stark’s Park in Kirkcaldy at the weekend (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)
Raith Rovers manager Ian Murray, right, and assistant Scott Agnew watching their side being beaten 1-0 by Dundee at Stark’s Park in Kirkcaldy on Saturday (Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group)



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