Raith Rovers play their final match of the year this Tuesday, when they welcome Queen of the South to Stark’s Park.

The Doonhamers go into this one at the bottom of the table, with no wins in four matches, and desperate for three points which could lift them towards safety.

Raith on the other hand go into the match in fine fettle, after an excellent 5-2 away win at Alloa, a result which lifted Raith back up to third in the table, two points ahead of fourth placed Dundee, and three behind near neighbours, Dunfermline Athletic.

Coincidentally, John McGlynn’s men inflicted a 5-2 defeat on Tuesday opponents the last time they met back in October, with goals coming from Ross Matthews, Dylan Tait, Daniel Armstrong and a brace from Manny Duku doing the damage in Dumfries.

These two sides haven’t met at Stark’s Park on league duty since March 2017, in a game which ended one apiece. Ryan Hardie had given Rovers an early lead, but a disputed Stephen Dobbie equaliser saw the match end all square.

Rovers last home win over the Dumfries side was from that same season, October 2016, when an injury time Mark Stewart goal saw Rovers take all three points.

Rovers have the upper hand in this fixture recently, but only just, with four wins and three draws from the last 10 meetings.

Tuesday evening’s match referee will be Barry Cook.

Head-To-Head League Record Versus Queen of the South at Stark’s Park:

Raith Rovers Wins: 29 | Queen of the South Wins: 16 | Draws: 9

Raith Rovers Goals: 100 | Queen of the South Goals: 57

Current Form:

Raith Rovers: D-W-L-D-D-W

Queen of the South: W-W-L-L-L-L

Top Scorers:

Raith Rovers: Manny Duku 9 | Daniel Armstrong 4

Queen of the South: Stephen Dobbie 4 | Connor Shields 3

Match Odds:

Raith Rovers: 8/13 | Queen of the South: 7/2 | Draw: 7/2


Raith Freeze In Stark's Defeat

On a bitterly cold evening at Stark’s Park, Raith Rovers put in far and away their most tepid performance of the season, meekly going down to a Queen of the South side who lifted themselves off the bottom of the table in the process.

An early goal from Connor Shields handed the visitors an advantage they never looked like squandering, despite a late change to their team which saw a debut for 16-year old goalkeeper, Charlie Cowie, and a last minute goal from Tommy Goss sealed all three points for the Doonhamers.

Manager, John McGlynn was forced into one change from Saturday’s 5-2 win over Alloa Athletic, with Jamie MacDonald missing out after going off at half time through injury, with his place going to Robbie Thomson.

That meant a return to the squad for David McGurn who took a place on the bench, while Manny Duku was considered fit enough to lead the line, after he hobbled off in the second period of that impressive win over The Wasps.

Queen of the South’s plans were disrupted in the warm up, when starting goalkeeper, Jack Leighfield, who himself has been playing back up to Rohan Ferguson this season, was injured in the warm up, meaning Charlie Cowie came in for his first senior appearance.

Rovers started this one like an Olympic sprinter out the blocks, haring into the Queen’s half straight from centre, with Regan Hendry supplying Ethan Ross on the left, who made his way into the penalty area and sent a low ball into the middle, which caused a mighty stramash which the visitors were eventually able to clear.

Any thought that this was going to be one way traffic was quickly dispensed with however, when experienced campaigner, Willie Gibson made good headway down the right and whipped a dangerous cross into the penalty area which was slightly too high for Shields, who was unable to steer his header on target from close range.

Indeed, that piece of action was more indicative of what was to follow, with Gibson and Joe McKee seeing a lot of the ball and delivering a few testing crosses into the box, which the Rovers backline was managing to deal with.

Despite Allan Johnston’s side looking bright, Thomson in the Raith goals had had little to do, although he was called into action in the 13th minute, when Gregor Buchanan got his head to a corner kick, but while his downward header was on target, it lacked any pace, allowing the Raith ‘keeper to gather easily.

He had less chance in the 18th minute though, as the visitors took a lead they thoroughly deserved.

The ball was worked from left to right for Queen’s, with Shields gathering the ball on the right hand side of the penalty area, before cutting inside and picking his spot in the bottom corner to blast the Doonhamers into the lead.

It was now going to be a test of character for Raith, who had looked curiously flat in the game’s opening quarter.

The goal failed to kick start them though, and Queen’s could have made it two in the 23rd minute.

A McKee free-kick should have been cleared not once but twice, but after it wasn’t, Alo Obileye was able to get his head onto the cross from the right, but he could only loop it over the bar.

Rovers hadn’t made any inroads in the opening half hour or so, with the ball being played long to Duku, a tactic which hadn’t been employed all season, and wasn’t working at all on this occasion.

Nothing was sparking in the middle of the park at all, with Ross and Armstrong out wide struggling to get involved, while the middle of the park was being pressed into mistakes by a hard working Dumfries side.

They were just starting to get their foot on the ball though, and while they’d failed to trouble Cowie in the Queen's goal, with the play still lacking any kind of flow or rhythm, they had at least taken the sting out of Queen’s play.

That said, Queen's still looked the more threatening, and Rovers were struggling to defend their lines from set pieces, with Queen’s forcing three successive corners that Rovers just about managed to repel, as the first half reached its conclusion.

Perhaps surprisingly, considering the paucity of the first half showing, there were no changes at the interval, as Raith looked to put in a far improved showing in the second 45.

It wasn’t forthcoming in the opening passages of the second period though, with Rovers attacks continuing to wither on the vine long before they reached the opponent’s final third.

McGlynn made his first change in the 55th minute,  with Ethan Ross being replaced by Lars Lokotsch, who went alongside Duku to form a striking combination.

However, it was the visitors who should have made it two soon after the change, when Dan Pybus somehow went from being marked to suddenly in yards of space at the back post, and while Thomson did well to palm his header out, it was a gilt edged chance that the midfielder should have finished.

Rovers were getting forward a little more, but were now looking open on the break, and if anything, were looking more inclined to fall further behind, rather than drawing level.

Raith then made their second change in the 64th minute, with Brad Spencer replacing Dan Armstrong.

Three minutes later, Rovers had their first attempt at goal, with Reghan Tumilty lashing over an attempt from 25-yards.

Rovers did think they’d brought the scores level with 20 minutes remaining, when a cross into the area eventually found its way to Duku who smashed into the net, but the referee had correctly spotted that he’d initially controlled it with his hand before hooking it into the net.

Raith were sending a number of forward punts, crosses and throw ins into the area, but virtually every single one of them was finding the head of Obileye who was doing an excellent job of swatting anything and everything away.

With 15 minutes remaining, Raith made their final change, with Dylan Tait being replaced by Gozie Ugwu who was making his first appearance for the club.

Rovers now had their guests penned in for the first time in the game, but Queen’s defence was doing an excellent job of staying compact and restricting their space.

They did create their first good chance in the 81st minute, when Lokotsch’s flick on from a corner picked out Mendy at the back post, but he had to take it on the volley, and his attempt was pinged over Cowie’s bar.

Rovers never looked like threatening after that though, and they went two down in the 90th minute, when more slack defending down their right-hand side saw Queen’s in on the counter, and after Pybus squared it to Tommy Goss, he had the easiest of tasks to slot home to make the points safe.

It was just the Doonhamers second win of the year in their final match of 2020, and after a difficult few days for them, they rightly celebrated a win that lifted them out of the relegation places.

For Raith, the result was a dull one, especially with a January fixture list that sees Hearts twice, Dunfermline, Dundee and Inverness in quick succession.

With The Pars next up this weekend, they’ll need to up their performance levels if they’re to trouble their near neighbours.




Paul Smith chatted to RaithTV after the defeat to Queen of the South

Live Updates

Welcome to tonight's game Raith v Queen of the South. It's chilly, no snow in Kirkcaldy but still white and crispy elsewhere. McGurn is on the bench, Thomson starts but no change otherwise
Change already to the team and Cowe for Queen of the South starts
Raith get the game underway
Queens switch the play to Gibson who gets the ball into the box but play ends with a goal kick
Queens quick to release the ball to Shields who gets the ball into the box. Ball eventually cleared and Raith throw in
Good play from Mendy who doesn't take any prisoners with his well timed tackle
Good ball to Duku who is closely marked and ball goes out for a Raith throw in deepening Queens half
Looks like Matthews got booked??
Queens from the corner get the ball deep onto the box. They go for goal but Thomson gets down to smother the attack.
Been informed it was Mendy who received the yellow card and not Matthews
Goal Queen of the South as Shields scores. Raith don't quite clear sufficiently and Thomson is powerless to keep the ball out.
Benedictus manages to tactically take the ball from Fitzpatrick as the latter just about enters the Raith box
Duku gets a head from the Queens free kick to get the ball put for a Queens corner
29 min and Raith's first corner
30 min in Raith 0 Queen of the South 1. Queens on top of the game and Raith somewhat slow to get going and get their usual play flowing
Tait gets the ball deep into the box and the ball is cleared over the goal...raith corner
Play that starts with Musonda switching play to Tumilty ball ends with Armstrong and ball goes out for Raith corner
East goes for a rather hopeful shot which goes wide
Mendy gets a knee to block a Queens shot....Queens corner
Duku goes for run as the ball gets up and over but Buchanan is hot on his heels and gets a toe to clear
As half time is called Queen of the South are the team on top. Raith require to settle and come out and play their usual pass on the deck game. Raith 0 Queen of the South 1 (Shields 17min)
Mr Cook gets the game back underway.
Rovers looking to get more pressure on the basement team.
Armstrong at the near post sees Cowie dive to gather.
Tumilty racing up the park, his pass carelessly given away in the Queens half.
Tait trying to thread the needle through the Queens defence, Duku sees the pass intercepted
Hendry yellow for a needless foul.
Sub imminent
Ross off, Lokotsch on.
Rovers losing width to go two up
Thomson doing well to parry from McCabe
Thomson beats Shields in a footrace to clear the ball
Pybuss whipped the ball across goal.
Armstrong off, Spencer on.
FK Rovers 30 yards out. The recycled ball comes to Tumilty who shoots narrowly over.
Rovers corner, Mendy heads over.
Rovers got the ball in the net, Duku handball cancelled the goal.
East in bother
Ugwu about to appear.
Rovers corner, and another, the bout at the far side.
Tait off, Ugwu on.
Fitzpatrick yellow
Rovers corner, Lokotsch putting defence under pressure.
Queens physio on.
Shields off, Goss on.
Hendry with a corner, Mendy puts the ball out at the back post
Tumilty running in from the right curls the ball out wide of the back post
Goal Queens, a lapse in defence let's Goss in for the visitors second goal.
+3 Full Time Raith Rovers 0-2 Queen of the South (Shields 17' Goss 90+2)