Hibs Prevail In Davo Farewell

Raith Rovers fans were able to honour one of their longest serving players on Friday evening, as a tropical Stark’s Park played host to Ian Davidson’s testimonial. 

Hibernian were the opponents, and Jack Ross’ men were impressive 3-1 winners on the night, as they concluded their pre-season preparation before beginning their European campaign against Andorans FC Santa Coloma on Thursday. 

All four goals were scored in an impressive first half, with Hibernian racing into a three goal lead after just 34 minutes, with goals from Ryan Porteous, Stephen Bradley and Kevin Nisbet. 

Rovers did respond through a goal from Aidan Connolly, but on a scorching evening, the pace of the game slowed in the second period, as both teams made full use of their sub benches. 

Davidson, the main man of the evening was given a guard of honour as he walked onto the park, and it was a standing ovation that was richly deserved, for a player who made 507 appearances for Raith over two spells with the club. 

There’s been a running joke in the build up that a few of those appearances had been cut short due to getting in hot water with officials, and his appearance in this one was curtailed too, but only due to his current side, Brechin City being in action versus Cowdenbeath on Saturday. 

As it was, the Raith stalwart was given a rousing acclamation when he was withdrawn after 25 minutes, bringing the curtain down on a lengthy Raith career. 

By that stage, the home side were already a goal down, in a match which despite being pre-season in nature, had started at a rip roaring pace, with Hibs taking the lead after just six minutes. 

The visitors had already looked dangerous before that, with a couple of deliveries into the area almost bringing about an even earlier opener, and it was another cross which caused the problem, with Josh Magennis’ free kick from the right ideal for Porteous who had been afforded a little too much space eight yards from goal, and his powerful header was thumped past Robbie Thomson and into the net. 

Despite the impressive opening from Hibs, Rovers were far from overawed, and they started to cause some problems of their own. 

Dario Zanatta collected a forward pass down the left, and after avoiding his man, cutting inside and teeing up Dylan Tait, the midfielder almost brought the scores level, pulling off a stop from Matt Macey, who would have been relieved to see the ball land on the roof of the net, after the ball looped off his hands after his partial stop. 

The same two players came together a few moments later, when Porteous’ slack pass out of defence was eagerly pounced on by Tait who advanced forward 25-yards before sending a well struck effort towards goal, but Macey did better on this occasion, diving to his right and pushing away for a corner. 

The game now felt like an even contest, but it was two just before the half hour mark, with a goal that was a fine demonstration of Hibs counter-attacking prowess. 

The move started in their own penalty area, after an intricate Rovers attack just failed to come off, but within seconds, the ball was down the other end, with ex-Raith forward Nisbet doing well down the left before coming infield and getting a shot off which was blocked, only for Bradley to react sharpest to nod home from six-yards. 

Raith barely had a chance to regroup when it was three, and once more, the swiftness of the visitors led to Rovers undoing. 

Again, it came when a Raith attack broke down, and one pass later Martin Boyle was sprinting down the left, before delivering a cross for Nisbet to fire home a fine volley. 

Rovers reduced that three goal arrears five minutes later though, through some dogged persistence from Matej Poplatnik. 

The Slovenian robbed Paul Hanlon of possession on the right-hand side, and after Macey came out to meet him, his clever side pass to Connolly allowed him to force the ball home from close range. 

The scoreline could have been even closer just before the interval, when Porteous was again slack with a pass, which allowed Lewis Vaughan a clear run on goal, but Macey did well to divert the ball away with his foot as the striker attempted to round him, and the chance was lost. 

With a raft of substitutions being made in the second period, goalmouth incidents were far fewer than in the first, and it was just over the hour mark before the next, with Drey Wright finding Nisbet from the right flank, and his first time effort brought out a decent stop from Thomson. 

Just a minute later, Wright took matters into his own hands, latching onto a through ball and outpacing the Rovers defence, but his shot was well stopped by Thomson. 

With 20 minutes left, Hibs almost made it four, when Darren McGregor headed Melker Hellberg’s set piece delivery just wide, and that was the final action of an evening which was a fine work out for both sides, and a great send off for a Raith legend. 


Photographs © Tony Fimister


Live Updates

Welcome to sunny Starks Park for Iain Davidson's testimonial match against visitors Hibernian.
Rovers listing 2 trialists tonight, spotted on the pitch is David McGurn, will update later if the identity of the other is revealed.
Not long now until kick off, 23 degrees pitch side, it's a warm one tonight.
Davo received a warm welcome onto the pitch by all fans.
Hibs kick off towards the South Stand
First attempt on goal from Hibs, Bradley heads wide at the back post.
Goal Hibernian, a free kick 25 yards wide right found Porteous who side footed the ball home from 5 yards.
Hibs corner, Paul Hanlon heads over from 6 yards.
Davo gets megged but yeah on rushing Nisbet is thankfully offside.
Vaughan passes to Tait who forces Maley to tip over for a corner.
Rovers passing well, looking for an opening in the Hibs defence.
Connolly has a shot from the corner of the Hibs box but the ball drifts over the back post.
Hibs flood the Rovers box for a corner but Zanatta gets the ball away.
Tumilty with a crisp ball into the area but no takers
Tait free to run 15 yards unleashed a cracker that forced the keeper to palm wide.
Connolly Chipstead ball into the area but Maley beats Zanatta to the ball.
Latest score, Raith Rovers 0-1 Hibernian
Off Davidson, on Berra
A long run by Zanatta is halted by Hanlon just as Dario was about to shoot.
A long run by Zanatta is halted by Hanlon just as Dario was about to shoot.
Goal Hibernian, Nisbet had a shot palmed by Thomson straight to Bradley who prodded the ball into the net from 3 yards.
Goal Hibernian, from a Boyle cross Kevin Nisbet sends the ball into the back of the net from 6 yards.
Goal Hibernian, from a Boyle cross Kevin Nisbet sends the ball into the back of the net from 6 yards.
Poplatnik doing all the running into the box,stumbled but Connolly was at hand to stab the ball home from close range.
A slack back pass nearly let Vaughan through but Maley did enough to rob the Rovers player.
Half time. Raith Rovers 1-3 Hibernian (Connolly 37') (Porteous 2' Bradley 28' Nisbet 31')
Raith get the second half underway
HT sub, Poplatnik off, Trialist A on.
Dick whips the ball into the Hibs box but they head clear
Nisbet on the ball up the far corner, Benedictus is there to toe poke the ball away, Hibs throw in
Berra with a long ball up field hoping it finds Connolly but Hanlon was on the case
Zanatta picks up a loose ball and charges forward but becomes in two minds on what to do next and Hibs nick in to take possession
Hibernian triple sub, Douglas,Allan and Bradley off, Stevenson, Wright and Mackay on.
Zanatta off, Trialist B on.
Hibs are screaming for a handball but Ref is saying no
Thomson with lightening reflexes saves a quick shot from Nisbet
Thomson again gets down for another save this time a low shot from Wright
Good play between Tumilty and Trialist A
Hibernian subs, Hanlon and Magennis off, Hallberg and McGreggor on.
Trialist B works hard to win the ball and thumps it upfield to get rid
Connolly with a bit of skill takes on his man passes to Vaughan but Hibs are there to challenge and intercept
Benedictus off, McKay on.
Freekick Hibs after a challenge by Berra
McGregor from the free kick gets the ball high into the box but it skims many heads and balls out for a goal kick
From a Hibs corner the ball bounces off many head before eventually come to rest on the deck and Hibs play back
Hibernian subs, Newell and Boyle off, Campbell and Gogic on.
Freekick Raith after trialist A is fouled
Corner Raith after Tumilty swings the ball in Hubs defend but bounces off a players knee
Spencer wins the ball, passes out to Vaughan but he is challenged
Rovers subs, Dick, Vaughan and Spencer off, Arnott, Mitchell and Young on.
Frerkick Raith after Tumilty is held back
Tumilty places a well placed ball into the box but McKay can't get a head to it
Hibs subs, McGinn Porteous off, Brydon and Gullan on.
Ball is switched play to Tumilty who takes his man on...ball deflects off the Hibs player's foot resulting corner Raith
Young places a good ball into the box, Connolly and Trialist A are thundering in but both can't connect
Ref blows for full time Raith 1 ( Connolly 37') Hibs 3 (Porteous 3' Bradley 29' Nisbet 31)