Raith Rovers head to Rugby Park for the first time since 1997 this Saturday, to face a Kilmarnock side currently sitting second in the Championship table.

It’ll be Raith’s fourth game in just nine days, following a defeat at Celtic Park last Thursday, before taking four points from six against Partick Thistle and Dunfermline, which lifted the Kirkcaldy side into the final playoff position in fourth.

Tommy Wright’s side go into this one unbeaten in four matches, and if Raith are to take full points from this fixture, they’ll need to do what six out of seven sides have failed to do in the league this season, and breach the Kilmarnock defence.

League leaders Inverness are the only team to have scored against Killie this term, with goalkeeper Zach Hemming keeping a clean sheet in the other six Championship matches.

You have to go back to 2004 for the last meeting between the sides, when Kilmarnock visited Stark’s Park for a Scottish Cup third round tie.

First half goals from Gary McSwegan, Gary MacDonald and Colin Nish put the visitors firmly in control, and while Vincent Talio pulled one back for the hosts in the second half, a comeback was never realistically on the cards.

Despite that loss, Rovers have the better record across the most recent fixtures, with five wins and a draw from the last 10 meetings.

Saturday’s match referee will be Willie Collum

Head-To-Head Away League Record:

Kilmarnock Wins: 32 | Raith Rovers Wins: 8 | Draws: 12

Kilmarnock Goals: 114 | Raith Rovers Goals: 50

Current Form:

Kilmarnock: D-W-W-W-L-W | Raith Rovers: W-L-W-L-W-D

Top Scorers:

Kilmarnock: Fraser Murray 4 | Innes Cameron 2

Raith Rovers: Dario Zanatta 7 | Lewis Vaughan 4

Match Odds:

Kilmarnock: 3/4 | Raith Rovers: 16/5 | Draw: 5/2


Poplatnik Pounces To Down Killie

Raith Rovers pulled off an excellent result at Rugby Park this afternoon, with a 3-1 win making it seven points from nine in the last six days. 

A first half goal from Liam Dick had Rovers a goal to the good at the interval, and although Callum Hendry equalised for the hosts with 15 minutes remaining, two well taken goals from Matej Poplanik gave Raith a victory which took them to within two points of the home side. 

John McGlynn made one change from the side which drew with Dunfermline in midweek, with Aidan Connolly dropping to the bench to be replaced by Tom Lang. 

It meant a change to the 3-5-2 formation which was last used in the 1-0 defeat at Inverness, with Lang slotting in the backline alongside Kyle Benedictus and Christophe Berra. 

Kilmarnock’s team sheet had some familiar names on it, with Euan Murray captaining the side from the centre of defence, while Daniel Armstrong had to be content with a seat on the bench, alongside latest loan signing, Callum Hendry. 

Kilmarnock had yet to score a league goal in the first half this term, but they started off on the front foot in this one, with Blair Alston whipping in a cross that Jamie MacDonald confidently let drift wide, although it wasn’t too far away from creeping into the far corner. 

MacDonald was then called into more direct action a minute later, when Scott Robinson got on the end of a chance at the back post, and his near post drive had to be gathered by the Raith ‘keeper. 

Rovers got their first sight at goal after six minutes, when Reghan Tumilty flashed a cross along the six yard box, and while no Raith players were able to turn it home, Dick was able to get on the end of it from a narrow angle, and his shot at goal was well gathered by Zach Hemming. 

Rovers were happy to hit the hosts on the break, but they themselves were exposed on the counter in the 12th minute, with Liam Polworth slipping a fine pass through to Oli Shaw, but the forward elected to take it early, and his finish was straight at MacDonald. 

Kilmarnock were starting to boss possession as the half progressed, but an organised Raith side took the lead with a well worked goal in the 19th minute. 

Ethon Varian picked up the ball wide on the right-hand side, and with time to pick his spot and plenty of Raith players in the penalty area, his deep cross was met perfectly by Dick, whose looping header back across goal dropped into the net to give Rovers the lead. 

Tommy Wright’s men almost hit back immediately though, when Robinson’s snap shot from the edge of the area was punched wide by the alert MacDonald. 

As much as the Rugby Park side were seeing more of the ball, too many of their passes were going astray, much to the chagrin of the home support. 

They were even more annoyed after half an hour, when Varian was allowed to advance from deep and run at the Killie backline, and while the on-loan Stoke man was able to get a shot off, it was well blocked by Euan Murray. 

Kilmanock were working the ball well out to both wings, and while they were getting in decent areas to get deliveries into the penalty area, Raith’s defence was coping well with repelling the crosses away, as they headed into the break with a one goal advantage. 

Killie were quick out the blocks in the second period, and fashioned a decent chance in the 46th minute, when Alston’s cross was met on the volley by Shaw, but he couldn’t steer his effort on target. 

Rovers were asking a lot of Varian, who was occupying defenders and winning his fair share of headers, but with the players behind him struggling to get up in support, he was often ploughing a very lone furrow. 

Dario Zanatta hadn’t had too many sights at goal so far, but he came close in the 58th minute, getting on the end of a Tumilty cross and dribbling across the face of the penalty area, before firing a shot at goal that was too close to Zach Hemming, who comfortably gathered. 

Tumilty then tried a more direct approach in the 62nd minute, when he attempted to lob Hemming from just inside the Killie half, but his attempt drifted well wide. 

Kilmarnock hadn’t threatened too seriously in the second period, but three successive corner kicks in the 65th minute had Rovers defending desperately on their own line, as Tommy Wright’s men started to turn the screw. 

There were a flurry of substitutions as the game approached the 70th minute, with Chris Burke and Callum Hendry joining the fray for the hosts, while Aidan Connolly and Matej Poplatnik replaced Varian and Zanatta. 

The new introductions had some drama to face in the 74th minute, when Dick was penalised for a passback to MacDonald that disconcertingly appeared to be drifting in, and the ‘keeper had to look alert to tip past. 

Wullie Collum deemed it a pass back and awarded an indirect free-kick, and with the entire Rovers team on the goal line ready to rush out, Hendry could only lash it into the advancing red and white line which came out to meet him. 

The home side didn’t have to wait long for the equaliser however, drawing level just a minute later.

Burke was the architect, swinging in a perfect cross from the right for Hendry, whose fine downward header was well placed beyond MacDonald. 

It appeared that Kilmarnock’s substitutions had given them a way back into the game, but instead, it was McGlynn’s swaps which turned events, as they took the lead again in the 82nd minute. 

Poplatnik appeared to have it all to do with a long ball forward, but after bringing it under control under pressure, space opened up in front of him, and he took advantage of it, sprinting away from a lumbering defence and planting a fine finish past Hemming, much to the delight of the Rovers travelling support. 

Rovers brought on Blaise Riley-Snow as they attempted to see out the game, and as Killie pushed forwards in the closing stages, Liam Polworth had a sight at goal, but he could only lash his effort well over the bar. 

Rather than sit on their laurels however, Rovers went further ahead in the final minute, with a goal that was all to do with the pace of Tumilty. 

Despite playing four games in just over a week, the full back not only broke up a Killie foray, he then sprinted past substitute Daniel Armstrong, covering the entire length of the park in the process, before teeing up Poplatnik who had the simple process of side footing home to make the game safe for Raith. 

The players took the acclaim of the fans at full time, as Rovers produced their best league result of the season at the home of the title favourites, with a win which kept them in the playoff positions. 


Photographs © Jeff Holmes Kilmarnock F.C.



John McGlynn spoke to RaithTV after the win against Kilmarnock FC:

Live Updates

Good afternoon and welcome to Rugby Park for today's Championship game Kilmarnock v Raith. A very wet drive through but thankfully the rain has stopped here in Kilmarnock. One change to Raith's team in comes Lang and Connolly on the bench. Also we see Musonda back on the bench.
Good afternoon and welcome to Rugby Park for today's Championship match Kilmarnock v Raith. After a very wet drive through it has stopped raining here in Kilmarnock and the sun is trying to break through
One change to the Raith side, in comes Lang and Connolly goes to the bench. It's also a welcome return to Musonda who is also on the bench.
Teams make their way onto the pitch
Raith get the game underway
Alston whips the ball in for Kilmarnock but ball goes wide at the far post
Lang tries to the the ball upfield to Varian but Kilmarnock get there first and clear
Shaw tries to get round Benedictus but he doesn't manage and his effort towards goal is collected by MacDonald
Spencer with a shot but his effort is high and doesn't trouble Hemmings
Good play by Raith. Passing forward and back by plays end with Tumilty getting the ball into the box but Raith can convert
First corner to Kilmarnock
From the corner Kilmarnock head well over the Raith bar....goal kick
Lang gets the ball to Varian who knocks it back to Tait. He tries to get the ball across the field but Kilmarnock intercept
Alston picks up a pass, drives forward...Lang is on his tail as he takes a shot MacDonald gathers
Spencer booked
Raith fans are in fine fettle and singing well
Tumilty does well to intercept a Kilmarnock pass as they pushed towards goal
Kilmarnock passing the ball around play ends with them having a header towards goal but it doesn't trouble MacDonald and the ball goes wide
Haunstrup gets whips the ball to the far side of the Raith box but Dick heads clear
DICK at the back post gets the ball into the net
Benedictus with a vital interception as Kilmarnock look for the equaliser. He boots the ball well over the bar .. Kilmarnock corner
From a second Kilmarnock corner they get the ball deep in the Raith box but their header is out for a goal kick
Raith playing well together across the field of play. Play ends with Tumilty switching play to Berra who is challenged and ball goes out of play. Raith throw in
Free kick Raith as Dick is bundled to the ground
From the Free-kick ball is put into the centre of the Kilmarnock box but ball is headed clear
Ball is passed down Zanatta who drives forward but as he unleashes a shot ball us blocked
MacDonald comes out and gets down to smother the ball as Kilmarnock push forward
33 min in Kilmarnock 0 Raith 1(Dick 19'). Raith playing really well and it's end to end stuff
Booking for Kilmarnock for a foul on Spencer just inside the Raith half
Kilmarnock try to lay the ball on to Shaw but Tumilty is there is intercept and clear
McGinn for Kilmarnock gets the ball to the far side of the Raith box but their header in is weak and MacDonald collects
Ref blows for half time bang in 45 min Kilmarnock 0 Raith 1 (Dick 19'). Been an entertaining first half with Raith holding and playing well
Kilmarnock get the second half underway
Can't see any changes at half time and teams as they were
Kilmarnock trying for an early shot but their effort at the front post is wide and doesn't threat MacDonald
Tait to Tumilty but the latter's pass to Varian is intercepted
Free kick Kilmarnock as Dick brings down Naismith approx 25 yards out
From the freekick Kilmarnock get the ball to the back post, ball is headed in but Lang is there to head clear
Kilmarnock get the ball in behind the Raith defence..MacDonald comes out Kilmarnock try to go round him but thankfully over hit and ball goes out for a goal kick
Tait gets the ball to Tumilty who puts a great ball into the box forcing Kilmarnock to get the ball out for a corner to Raith
Tumilty passes to Varian he tried to get the ball in goes for a shot but Hemmings gets down to gather
Kilmarnock corner as MacDonald's save goes out
From the Kilmarnock corner play ends with them thumping the ball well over the bar from the edge of the Raith box
Tumilty picks up the ball, he should run up the field but he sees the keeper off his line decides to have a hopefully shot from just inside the half way line but ball off target
Raith clear as Kilmarnock push forward. Corner Kilmarnock
Kilmarnock get the ball right into the centre of the box, MacDonald is the mix, ball goes out and Collum signals goal kick
Kilmarnock sub off Robinson and McKenzie and bring on Hendry and Burke
20 min to go Kilmarnock 0 Raith 1...Kilmarnock have had the upper edge this half but Raith holding well
Raith sub off Varian and Zanatta and bring on Connolly and Poplatnik
Oh man, a major error by Raith as Lang passes back to MacDonald but lack of communication? MacDonald clears the ball with his hand...indirect free kick yards from the goal line
Kilmarnock appeal that it's a handball as it hits the wall, Columb says no
Kilmarnock goal
Hendry for Kilmarnock slots home the equaliser
Poplatnik is looking for the foul as he goes to ground but Collum says no
Fantastic save by MacDonald as Kilmarnock let a blistering shot loose
10 min to go Kilmarnock 1 Raith 1
MacDonald from the goal kick gets the ball to POPLATNIK he controls well, gets past the defender and thumps home Raith's second
Kilmarnock make a sub they have brought in idea who has gone off
Raith sub off Tait and bring in Riley-Snow
Raith fans are bursting in chorus as Riley-Snow makes an appearance
5 min to go Kilmarnock 1 Raith 2
Good play between Poplatnik and Tumilty the latter gets the ball across the box but no one there to convert
Ball falls to Poplatnik as Benedictus clears, he is clear on goal as he runs up field is then surrounded by Kilmarnock defenders and is dispossessed
Kilmarnock with a cross into the box, they head the ball down but MacDonald gets down and collects
Poplatnik booked for a silly move and kicking the ball away
Benedictus heads clear
Exceptional run by Tumilty as he powers upfield he passes to Poplatnik who calmly slots home number three for Raith
Full time....Kilmarnock 1 (Hendry 75') Raith 3 (Dick 19', Poplatnik 81' 92') fantastic play by Raith. Their 6th game since 18th Sept and they go home with 3 points from East Ayrshire..superb play by Raith