Team Pd GD Pt
1 Inverness CT 10 8 23
2 Kilmarnock 10 6 20
3 Raith Rovers 10 5 18
4 Partick Thistle 10 9 16
5 Arbroath 10 9 16
6 Ayr United 10 -4 12
7 Queen of the South 10 -4 10
8 Hamilton Academical 10 -13 8
9 Greenock Morton 10 -7 7
10 Dunfermline 10 -9 6
Updated: 23rd Oct
Sunday November 3rd 2013

East Stirlingshire 0 – 2 Raith Rovers

Raith Ease Into Fourth Round After Ochilview Victory

Raith Rovers made it safely through to the fourth round of the Scottish Cup, with a deserved 2-0 win over a hard-working East Stirling side at Ochilview.

Grant Murray was forced into one change from Tuesday nights win over Livingston, after Joe Cardle was ruled out through injury. The wingers absence meant a first start for new signing Kevin McCann, who slotted in at left-back, while Callum Booth moved forward to the left-hand side of midfield.

On a bright, but bitterly cold day, Raith almost went in front in the opening few seconds. A long ball forward was misjudged by East Stirling centre-half Chris Townsley, giving Gordon Smith an unexpected opportunity. However, with his back to goal, his overhead kick went wide of goalkeeper Grant Hay’s post.

The early chance aside, the League Two leaders looked composed and organised, although it was Raith who were dominating the early possession. Callum Booth was looking sharp in the unfamiliar left-midfield role, although up front, the pairing of Gordon Smith and Calum Eliott were struggling to make the ball stick.

There was almost quarter of an hour gone before the next chance presented itself. A Booth corner was cleared 30 yards from goal and was met powerfully by Kevin McCann, an effort which Hay did well to beat away. When the ball was crossed back into the box, Gordon Smith rose highest, but watched incredulously as his effort struck the inside of the post, and somehow stayed out.

At this point, Booth was the man who looked most likely to provide the breakthrough, and he was only denied the opening goal by another smart stop from Hay a few minutes later. Kevin Moon somehow managed to play a 1-2 with referee Don Robertson who had wandered into his path, before finding Booth in space at the back post, but his shot was blocked well by Hay.

The same player was again denied by Hay after 25 minutes, when he held the Hibs-loanee’s free-kick from 22 yards.

At this point, it seemed just a matter of time until Raith moved ahead, and only a goal-line clearance stopped them from doing just that a minute later. Paul Watson’s header from a corner made its way past Hay, but was headed off the line by Greenhill. This however, was to be Raith’s last meaningful chance of the half, as East Stirling started to make some headway into the match.

They created their first chance after half-an-hour, when Kevin Moon was shrugged off the ball by Michael Herd on the edge of the box. Composing himself, the forward burst into the area and sent a low shot towards Laidlaw’s right-hand post, which the Raith keeper did well to not only get down to, but to hold.

If that was a warning, then it was one that Raith failed to heed, as they received an even bigger let-off ten minutes before half-time.  Kevin Turner’s ferocious drive from just outside the box beat Laidlaw but struck the underside of the bar, and bounced just the right side of the line, before Herd nodded home the rebound, only to be ruled offside by the linesman.

The remainder of the opening period saw Raith toil to stretch the home defence, and it was a frustrated looking Raith side that trooped off at the interval.

If the Rovers fans were concerned at how the game was panning out, then their minds were put at ease 2 minutes into the second-half. Booth picked out Smith on the edge of the box, and the striker volleyed low past Hay for his third goal in three games.

The creator of the first almost added a second, when he get on the end of a sweeping move involving Jason Thomson and Calum Eliott, but his side foot finish lacked the power to beat the East Stirling keeper.

Despite the lead, Rovers were struggling to create any more clear-cut chances. East Stirling’s five man midfield was doing a good job of not only nullifying Raith’s engine room, but also getting forward to support Turner. Other than a penalty appeal after Paul Watson appeared to block a Herd attempt with his arms however, the home side were creating precious little.

With just over 20 minutes remaining, Grant Murray made his first swap, bringing on Greig Spence for goalscorer Gordon Smith, and the ex-Alloa striker got a sight at goal soon after entering the fray, but his shot from the edge of the box ended up way over the bar.

With 10 minutes left however, Rovers got the goal that confirmed their participation in the fourth round. Again it was Booth who was the provider, crossing the ball into Spence, but instead only finding Shire left-back Michael McGowan, who somehow managed to shin the ball off the post, and into his own net.

With the two goal cushion, a weight seemed to be lifted from the Rovers players, who looked like they could extend their lead even further. Calum Eliott was the next to come close, when his shot from the edge of the area curled off the inside of the post, and like Smith’s attempt in the first half, somehow managed to spin away.

The final chance fell to Callum Booth, but that first goal for Rovers remained elusive, when his goal bound effort was impressively tipped over by Hay.

The final whistle meant not only that Raith were in Tuesday’s fourth round draw, but also that Grant Murray’s side have now lost just 2 out of 18 games this season. If that record is to be extended further, then they’ll need to find their best form when they travel to Dens Park to take on Dundee next Saturday.

Shaughan McGuigan

Welcome to Ochilveiw, it's 8 degrees and sunny.
The stadium announcer is keeping us amused by calling us Albion Rovers.
The home made soup is tremendous, 10/10
Rovers kick off facing the sun.
McCann at RB, Booth on the wing.
The aerial route is preferred by ES.
Laidlaw claims a high ball into the box, his first touch of the ball.
The Shire are making a game of this.
Watson heads a free kick wide for a corner.
The corner is headed wide by McGowan.
Rovers are pressing but unable to unlock the defence.
Booth and Elliot combine well, corner, the ball comes out to McCann who unleashed a thirty harder straight at the keeper.
The ball came out and was crossed into Smith who's header hit the bar.
Keeper Hay will remember McCann's strike for a while.
Hay with the block from Booth at point blank range.
Booth curls a twentyfive yard free kick round the wall, Hay dived to his right to smother the shot.
Thomson goes on a run the ball goes for a corner, Watson's header is saved on the line.
Turner takes on four Raith defenders but numbers count.
Shire having a few trips up field but fail to breakthrough.
Hay is becoming the Shire MOTM.
Michael Herd bursts into the box bringing Laidlaw into action with. low save to his right.
Turner breaks through but bad footwork causes him to lose the ball.
Turner hit the bar from the edge of the box, Herd followed up with a header which hit the back of the net but is ruled offside.
Moon shoots just over from. Booth corner.
Shire keeping Raith at bay, showing why they are top of their division.
Smith hits the side net from a corner.
+1 halftime.
Correction, the earlier post should have read, Booth at LB.
Floodlights on for the second half.
Elliot swung in a ball but there were no takers, Booth recovered the ball and passed to Smith who found the net from just inside the area. GOAL ROVERS.
Anderson with a back injury, he fell awkwardly going for a high ball.
Play stops bit he gets up and off the pitch for treatment.
Grant comes back to the fray.
Smith sprints down the line and into the box but is denied by robust defending.
McKechnie rises for a header but it fall in to Laidlaw's safe hands.
Booth brings out the best in Hay as he is force to dive to save a fierce shot.
Turner this time at the other end heads the ball without accuracy.
A cross by Booth is blocked by MacGregor.
Watson blocks a Herd shot, the Shire players shout for a penalty, play on says the ref.
Anderson crosses into Smith who tries an audacious back heel but the ball is wide and the play ruled offside.
Shire players lining up for a shot, finally Thomson shoots from outside the box and Laidlaw secures the ball with a dive to his right.
Rovers pressing with two corners in as many minutes, the Shire remain resolute.
Rovers pressing with two corners in as many minutes, the Shire remain resolute.
Smith off, Spence on. McKechnie off, Wright on.
Anderson hits a long ball into the box, Hay denies Spence and clears.
Moon breaks down the middle but runs out of steam.
Booth and Spence combine but the latter fires way over the bar.
Elliot takes a knock.
Herd and Maxwell off, O'Donoghue and Devlin on.
Poor defending sees McGowan put the ball in his own net. GOAL ROVERS.
Elliot shoots from outside the box, the ball comes back off the post but Booth fails to convert.
Bolochoweckyi sees yellow for clattering Moon. Anderson picks up a mystery yellow.
Hearts race as Hay fumbles a clearance, Spence couldn't make up the ground to capitalize.
Good wing play by Thomson but the ball into Spence was weak enabling Hay to recover.
+1 Anderson on a twenty yard run fires wide. Full time.
Job done by The Rovers, Shire may have a gripe over the offside decision and two shouts for a penalty.
East Stirlingshire: Hay, MacGregor, McGowan, Townsley, Bolochoweckyj, Thomson, Herd, Greenhill, Turner, McKechnie, Maxwell.
Subs: O'Donoghue, Devlin, Tapping, Wright, McCaughie.

Raith Rovers: Laidlaw, Thomson, Booth, Watson, Fox, McCann, Moon, Elliot, Anderson, Smith, Ellis.
Subs: Hill, Spence, Callachan, Donaldson, Vaughan, Roberts.

Rovers gaffer Grant Murray talked to Davie Hancock after the cup win