Raith Rovers FC would like to pay tribute to former captain Kyle Benedictus, who has joined Dunfermline Athletic after the expiry of his Raith Rovers contract.
A summer 2015 signing from Dundee (having spent the previous season on loan at Alloa Athletic), “Bene” has racked up 271 appearances and has scored 12 goals in his 7 years service to the Rovers, which included 13 Playoff appearances (second only to Rovers stalwart and close friend Iain Davidson).
Kyle played his first professional match with his hometown team Dundee in 2008, a month before his 17th birthday but it was at Stark’s Park that he really established himself as a first team regular.
Ray McKinnon was the Rovers manager who signed Bene on 10th June 2015 in advance of the 2015-16 season starting, and Kyle scored his first Rovers goal on his competitive debut (a 3-0 home win v Albion Rovers in the League Cup). In a season where Rovers went on a great run of form in the second half of the season (finishing 4th going out of the SPFL Premiership Promotion playoffs v Hibs), Bene scored 5 goals in his debut Rovers season.
The following season saw Kyle play under 2 managers – Gary Locke and John Hughes – and was used in several positions in defence as Rovers suffered an excruciating playoff relegation to SPFL League 1 v Brechin.
At the start of season 2017-18 – under new manager Barry Smith – Bene was one of the first players to re-commit themselves to the cause to try and get the club back in to the SPFL Championship.
A broken leg v Ayr United early in the season restricted the newly – appointed captain to 36 games over the following 2 seasons as Rovers lost out first to Ayr United in winning SPFL League 1 (on the last day of the league season at home v Alloa, and then losing out in the playoffs a week later v the same opponents) and then a strong Arbroath side under Dick and Ian Campbell as the Red Lichties continued their climb up the SPFL ladder.
The return of John McGlynn and Paul Smith to Stark’s Park in September 2018 revitalised the club and playing staff, with another finish in the SPFL Championship Playoff positions (losing out to Championship side Queen of the South) in season 2018-19.
The following season – 2019-20 – saw success in winning SPFL League 1 ultimately being achieved after the season was curtailed because of the coronavirus pandemic, accompanied by a shared Challenge Cup win after Kyle’s goal in the semi-final v Partick set us on our way to the Final v Inverness Caledonian Thistle.
In the clubs debut return to the SPFL Championship after a 3 year absence, the team surpassed itself under Kyle’s captaincy to finish 3rd and miss out controversially to his former club, Dundee, in the SPFL Premiership Promotion playoffs.
Last season proved to be Kyle’s swansong in a Rovers shirt, with the undoubted highlight being lifting the SPFL Trust Trophy as club captain alongside Ross Matthews and his son Max after the 3-1 Final win on a memorable day for everyone connected to the Rovers versus Queen of the South at Airdrie.
Kyle’s last Rovers appearance was vs Kilmarnock on 30th April 2022 in a SPFL Championship game ending 1-1.
It was during Kyle’s time at the club with John McGlynn and Paul Smith that he smashed the 200 appearances milestone – over that time period he made 149 appearances and scored 6 goals.
Kyle finished his Stark’s Park career placed at number 36 in our all-time appearance list, ahead of such legendary names as Johnny Urquhart, Keith Wright, Ernie Copland, David McGurn and David Morris.
Kyle Benedictus Raith Rovers FC Honours:
SPFL League 1 Winners medal 2019-20
Challenge Cup winners medals 2020-21 & 2021-22
Thank You and Good Luck Bene!