Supporters who travelled to Dumbarton to see the last game of the league campaign would no doubt have been impressed by young Ross Matthews first team debut. However, that match only topped off a great week for Ross. Not only was he rewarded with his first professional contract but at the Supporters Club Player Awards, the week before, there was a new award made in the memory of Malcolm Szpera which Ross also picked up.

Malcolm Szpera was a lifelong Rovers supporter from Kinghorn and followed the team at home and away, often travelling with the Supporters Club, throughout the 1960s and 70s. His career took him to Jersey, but he never lost his love of Raith Rovers. Sadly, ten years ago he passed away, at the age of 49, following a brain tumour. At the time his wife, Deirdre, instituted an award for a young player in Malcolm’s memory which was won by Craig Wedderburn. At the end of this season, Deirdre joined with Rovers Down South to present the award again and they intend to make it an annual event. Reflecting Malcolm’s own character, Deirdre stressed that the reward is more about endeavour than trying to identify the best player. “Malcolm would’ve wanted to reward someone who kept trying and aiming to improve, who perhaps faced adversity on or off the pitch but who just kept doing their best.“ said Deirdre.

Ross was chosen by the management team as the young player most deserving of the award as he had shown the best attitude and had worked hardest to develop as a player throughout the season. We all hope that the coming season will see Ross playing more regularly for the first team and continue his journey as an emerging talent.



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