Welcome back to another month of potential struggles with Raith Rovers.
Potentially 4 games this month – the Scottish Cup Quarters are on Saturday 25th if we can see off Championship side Ayr. Motherwell is a must win to at least help towards securing that relegation play-off, though we will play them again after the League splits at the start of April.
And so it begins – Motherwell picking 3 points up against Hearts, 7 points back now with 11 games left. Dundee Utd stay 9 points above us.
Chris Duggan – I put him on loan as he wanted game time. Nobody wanted him. Had a whinge about it, wanted to go on the transfer list. Released him on a free 🙂
4th February 2023 – Ayr (A) – Scottish Cup 5th Round
We make the trip to Ayr (93 miles) for this Scottish Cup tie knowing a good win would do wonders for the Morale of the team. We need to really start turning our form around quickly.
Ayr are currently 6th in the Championship but have lost 3 and drawn 1 in the League this year so far.
Starting to get my settled first team – Miller still working back to fitness so Bigirimana starts. Crookes out to left-back, Chrzanowski back as a true centre-back. Ayr start with a 5-2-1-2 WB, will be an interesting clash of styles I think.
FT Ayr 1 (Storie pen 20) Raith 1 (Buchanan o.g. 55) Att 3,437 (822 Away)
A decent enough start from the lads in the Ayr-Shire drizzle. But out of nowhere an Ayr penalty – a weak push. Storie tucks it away. FFS lads. Ayr very much on top. But it should have been 1-1 in injury time, Robinson missing a sitter – just a tap-in volley… Poor, 1-0 Ayr at Half Time.
Miller on for Hunter, CM(A) turned to MEZ(A), Bigirimana and Hamilton. Robinson now the AF, Ferrier DLF(S). And we get back in, and it’s so unlucky for Ayr. A quick break, a Robinson cross headed out, Hamilton hits it on the volley, and it ricochet’s off of 2 Ayr defenders before trickling in, defender Buchanan credited with the OG. 65 minutes – Kenny Innes, pulled knee ligaments… Fuck this game. WB-in-training Skelly on at left back as Crookes goes back to the centre. Last 15, Ross on for Ferrier. Raith piling on the pressure, but we just don’t look like scoring. 1-1 it finished. Replay in 11 days.
No shocks yet – Buckie in with a shout in the replay versus Falkirk though.
Kenny Innes – Pulled Knee Ligaments – 3 Weeks. Could have been a lot worse.
And we have the draw for the Quarters:
Tough one – Away to Aberdeen. Buckie/Falkirk with the prize draw versus Rangers.
Rangers beat Celtic just before the draw, Hibs just after, so just the 2 replays.
Our Reserves lost 4-2 to Ross County Res, Gavin Robinson with a brace.
Jordan Marshall – Tight Achilles – 1/2 days – Will keep him out of the game this weekend versus Kilmarnock.
11th February 2023 – Kilmarnock (H) – Ladbrokes Premiership
We welcome a Kilmarnock team currently sitting in 4th place in the League to Stark’s Park this afternoon, desperately searching for a bit of form. Killie are over-performing, haven’t lost in the last 4 games and haven’t let a goal in in those games either – not much chance today i would suggest.
Trying to get some-kind of response from the team, so going back to 4-3-3 – Crookes back to centre back due to Innes being out, Currie at left back as Marshall suffered the tweak in mid-week. Skelly & Hazard on the wings, Robinson a nuisance in the middle. Just lacking cohesion & morale – not good. Killie go with a 4-2-3-1 Wide.
FT Raith 1 (Robinson 60) Kilmarnock 3 (Hay 1, Kane 39, Roberts 80) Att 4,399 (801 Away)
OK – Kilmarnock 1-0 up in 15 seconds…. don’t think we touched the ball, Hay with the finish. And there’s a kick-off highlight… and we hit the post… Then nothing until the 27th minute. Very tight game. Then it’s 2-0 in the 39th – a 25 yard volley from Shenton, off the bar, Kane just in the right place to volley home. 2-0 at Half Time – we are fucking awful.
A few tweaks, but it’ s still a shit-sandwich no matter how you look at it. Miller off for Grimshaw, a bit of a modified 4-1-4-1. 54th minute, Jed Currie sent off for a 2nd yellow. But somehow we get a goal! Robinson with the header after a Hegarty cross!! Hamilton on for Hunter. 3-1 in the 80th minute, Roberts with a volley at the back post. We had other chances, but it finishes 3-1.
All on the Motherwell result really (v Rangers) , then our game with them.
And of course they beat Rangers. Feels a lot like relegation now. If I can keep my job that will be a really good thing – I can start again and get rid of most of these chancers.
Our Reserves beat Lothian Thistle Res 5-0, goals from Mark Wright (17yo DC), Brandon Hunter & a Hat-Trick from Morgan Ferrier.
15th February 2023 – Ayr(H) – Scottish Cup 5th Round Replay
We welcome Ayr today at a bit of a tipping point – lose this and i may be tempted to resign, what with Motherwell’s resurgence as well.
4-1-4-1 – Black gets a chance in midfield as Miller is allowed to roam. Mitchell in as right winger. Just start playing football lads!!! Ayr start with the same 5-2-1-2 WB as last time.
FT Raith 2 (Mitchell 29, Skelly 37) Ayr 0 Att 6,560 (825 Away)
Constant rain for the last 5 games or so, really nasty conditions. And a big moment in the 13th minute – Muirhead sent off for a lunge on Skelly. Can we make it pay though? 23rd minute, Black hits the bar. Raith understandably on top. And the breakthrough comes in the 29th minute – Kris Mitchell finishing off from an acute angle after a few deflected/saved shots. His first goal for Raith. 2-0 in the 37th – Black hitting the bar again, Skelly on hand though to tap in. Thank fuck that we’ve started to look like we know what we are doing! 2-0 at Half Time.
55, Miller off for Bigirimana. 70, Matthews for Mitchell. Last 10, Ferrier for Robinson. Quiet 2nd half, but I’ll take it. 2-0 Raith.
Falkirk see off Buckie Thistle 1-0 in the other replay. Motherwell up next… £15k for the win today.
Our Reserves beat Tynecastle Res 4-1, goals from Aaron Welsh (21yo ML), Lewis Smith (19yo AMR) and a brace from Lindsay Holmes (19yo MC).
Adam Crookes – Tight Thigh – 1-3 Days – On the eve of the Motherwell game as well, one of the most important games of the season. FML. 21yo Grant Clark comes in…
18th February 2023 – Motherwell (A) – Ladbrokes Premiership
So to the big one – Motherwell – who unfortunately have won their last 2 games after no win in 11…
So, 4-1-4-1 it is, 21yo 2* CA Clark in for Crookes at the back (definitely our weakest area). Apart from that the team picks itself really. Looking for another big game from Dylan Black in midfield. Motherwell go with a 4-5-1, so not too dissimilar. Interesting one today, a draw wouldn’t be a bad result at all.
FT Motherwell 3 (Leddie 66, 84, Leitch o.g. 88) Raith 2 (Robinson 58, Bigirimana pen 80) Att 5,730 (736 Away)
Guess what – its raining again! Quiet first 20. Then a really good chance for Black, but his shot gets charged down, and we nearly concede on the break… Tight. Grimshaw picks up a gashed leg… let’s see if he can last to the break. Yes he can. 0-0, very tight indeed.
Hamilton on for Grimshaw as a CM(D) as we go 4-5-1 as well. A quiet first 10 of the half before we get a couple of highlights. And the breakthrough arrives! A Raith corner is partially dealyt with, but the ball gets back to Hegarty on the left, and his cross is controlled and finished in one movement by Robinson, for his 12th of the season. A massive goal potentially. But no, 66th minute, 1-1, a Leddie header, Leitch flapping at it at the back post… Hazard on for Skelly as an IW, Black to Mezzala, Marshall off overlaps. Last 15, Bigirimana for Black. And within a few minute he makes a difference. A Deep free kick is swung in, and it’s a Penalty!! Tanner with a push on Miller. And Gael steps up himself… 2-1!!! Dead Centre, but it’s in! Against his former club as well. 10 minutes lads! Nope! 2-2, Leddie again, just a lump forward and he gets on it. FFS. And he was offside as well!!! Know what way this is going, don’t we… 3-2 Motherwell, and its a fucking joke of a goal. Coyle runs inside with the ball, hits a speculative effort, off the inside of the post, Keeper doesn’t move, hits his foot and rolls in. Fuck Right Off. 3-2 Motherwell it finished.
So, 1 point it is… So close to rage resigning it’s not even funny. So we’ve got to at least get the same points as Motherwell in the last 9 games, should be interesting…
Liam Grimshaw – Gashed Upper Leg – 6 days – 2 weeks. Another injury we could do without. Should be getting a few back soon though.
Right, a week until the cup Quarter Final versus Aberdeen.
Gavin’s getting good!
25th February 2023 – Aberdeen (A) – Scottish Cup Quarter Final
For the love of god just play well today!!! Aberdeen come into this winning 4 games before losing 3-0 to Hibs on Tuesday. they are 5th currently in the premiership – I don’t expect anything from this, but we need to start playing football. I know our defense is a real problem, but with lads coming back I’m hoping we will have enough about us to not get straight relegated.
4-5-1 with Grimshaw out, but we have Innes back at centre back. Playing 2 Roaming Playmakers (Hunter & Miller) with Hamilton as the holding midfielder (We have no ball winners, something that needs to change) Crookes out to left back, Hazard as the winger on the right. just don’t get thumped! Aberdeen start with a 4-2-3-1 Wide.
FT Aberdeen 1 (Ferguson 80) Raith 1 (Robinson 56) Att 18,904 (660 Away)
I think we need a scouting option to see if a player has webbed feet – he’d do so much better up here. Pissing down again… And a really nice start from the boys, just missing the final touch; lots of good interplay. Aberdeen come into the game a bit but we get to the half hour all square. As we approach half time a wonderful chance for Robinson after a beautiful pass from Skelly, but the shot is weak, and palmed away. 0-0 at the break – if anything Raith on top.
A decent start to the half again, just missing a sharpshooter. But then a moment of brilliance! 56th minute, Raith with the ball in and around, it reaches Hazard just outside the ‘D’, who steps passed it and rabona’s it along the ground into the path of Robinson, who places the ball just inside the post. A gorgeous goal, 1-0 Raith. Almost 2-0 straight after, Robinson offside after Hunter’s free kick was saved. Really really tight – Mane v Everton tight. Raith very much on top, and nearly 2-0 again, Skelly hitting the post from 30 yards, the ball dribbles to the Keeper… 60 minutes gone, Bigirimana for Hunter, DLP(S) – Double playmakers working really well! But more injuries 🙁 Skelly with a twisted knee… Ross Matthews on, Hazard over to the left as an IW(S). Last 15, Crookes off for Marshall, Overlaps on the left with Hazard coming inside. Then disaster, 80th minute, Ferguson scores after ping-pong from an Aberdeen corner… We’d looked so on top. Wouldn’t mind a replay, another game to play this formation, try and find some form. Aberdeen now on top, because of course, as we hit 5 minutes of stoppage time. But we hold on. 1-1, back to Kirkcaldy for the replay...
Falkirk get a good 0-0 at home to Rangers in the other QF today as well.
Jamie Skelly – Twisted Knee – 3/4 Days. Phew!!!
That’s that for the games this month. I feel we may be turning a corner, but will it be too late, with jusy 9 league games remaining…
Kilmarnock was a really poor performance, Motherwell was really unlucky, the first Ayr game was disjointed, the 2-0 replay a good game and the Aberdeen 1-1 was the best we have played so far, so there’s a little bit of positivity there.
Rangers first up in March, with the Aberdeen replay back at ours straight after, and we’ve got to be getting points versus Hearts & St. Mirren. Ross County ends the normal season before we enter the split – hopefully by then our form will be good enough to keep Motherwell at bay, we shall see. So let’s play through the last few days of February.
In the other 2 semi finals Dundee & Hibs played out a 3-3 draw, Dundee 3-0 up in 18 minutes before League Leaders Hibs got back into it. Hearts play St. Mirren in the other game, but not until after the draw…
If we can get past Aberdeen it’s most probably Hibs in the Semi…
And St. Mirren drew 1-1 with Hearts so there are 4 replays to be played 🙂
Our Reserves beat Hearts Res 2-0! Goals from Lindsay Holmes & Liam Ross.
PLAYER LEAVING (LOAN)
Grant Barr (18yo STC) goes to Forres Mechanics (Highland League, 6th) until the end of next season.
And that’s that for a tough February. Signs of an upturn though. I leave you with the Key Highlights from this Month. See you soon.