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Ross County 4 – 0 Raith Rovers

Raith Rover’s goal to play top-flight football will have to be one that waits another year unfortunately, after a long journey to Dingwall resulted in a 4-0 defeat; a scoreline that seals the playoff tie with a 6-1 final aggregate score.

Ian Murray made two changes for this second leg, with Josh Mullin and Dylan Easton starting for the afternoon match. Ex-County defender Keith Watson also returned to the bench, after an injury sustained against Partick Thistle just a few weeks prior.

Kick-off

Raith had a lot of promising moments early on, and moved the ball quick as they advanced into their opponents final third on numerous occasions. They did have to defend their box however, with some County corners and crosses forcing the Raith backline into defensive action often in the opening 15.

One of these crosses did eventually evade the Raith defence however, after an awkward ball into the Rovers’ box was headed home by Simon Murray, who was lurking at the back post. The pivotal first goal of the match did not go Raith’s way, giving them a 2-goal deficit to surmount with almost 20 minutes played.

Raith continued to control the ball afterwards, and kept their ventures into the final third up. The trailing away side just couldn’t break down the County defence though, with Ross Laidlaw only being called into action once as he did well to deny a Lewis Vaughan effort from a tight angle. Raith tried their luck with numerous other efforts, but failed to find the target on each occasion. For all their possession and control, the Rovers had little to show for it come half time.

Half Time

Moments into the second half, an unfortunate Ross County corner dealt what some would call the “killer blow” to Raith’s promotion dreams. Another ball into the box saw County’s Jordan White rise to nod the ball home from around 8 yards out.

Raith lumped on the attacking substitutions, but only at the expense of some defensive manpower. After some more slim chances for Raith, the 3rd of the game again went in Ross County’s favour after Simon Murray lashed the ball into the net from the left side of the box. With 25 minutes to go, the Raith support remained loud, even with the current conditions.

Raith didn’t let up still, and forced numerous saves from Laidlaw as he endeavoured to keep his clean sheet. It became somewhat clear that it was destined for Raith to not score after a while, as they did all they could to force the ball into the net.

Through an immaculate rendition of “Three Little Birds” from the yellow-tinted away support, County grabbed their fourth and final of the match through substitute midfielder, Brandon Khela. The County youngster capitalised from a shot off the post as he tucked away his effort into the bottom right corner from the edge of the box. The remaining 5 minutes of regulation time was goalless, and the full-time whistle signalled the end of the 2023/24 premiership promotion play-offs.

Full Time

Even after such a defeat, the optimism of the Raith fans was heavily apparent well beyond the final whistle, as they stayed to show their appreciation to the players for such an entertaining and memorable season. With hopes well and truly high, anticipation of a forthcoming season has probably never been higher.

Written by Hamish Rankine.

Live Updates

0'
Welcome to today’s Cinch Premiership Playoff final - 2nd leg. Weather is better than Thursday but rain showers have been happening. Two changes to the Raith starting line up in come Josh Mullin and Dylan Easton - Connolly and Hamilton on the bench. Watson also returns to the bench
0'
Game is underway, Raith defending. The away end this half
1'
First corner of the afternoon and Dhanda gets the ball into the box and Raith clear
2'
Nice ball from Dhanda to Murray but he has to bring the ball to the byline then get the ball back out the Raith box
3'
Ball in to the RIth box by King and Euan Murray heads clear
5'
Freekick Raith after a foul by Leak on Vaughan - just in County end
7'
Great play by Mullin, he passes to Matthews who gets the ball into the County box and they clear
8'
Liam Dick with a soft effort as Raith press County box
13'
Lovely play by Stanton as he skips past players in the midfield and passes the ball to Liam Dick
15'
County’s turn to press and play ends with James Brown with an effort and ball is wide
18'
Excellent challenge from Liam Dick as County press up their right
19'
Goal Ross County - Simon Murray with a header at the back post
20'
Raith are trying to reply and win a corner
21'
From the corner ball played to front post and County head clear
24'
From a Raith corner ball falls deep and Raith head towards goal but Laidlaw collects
29'
Long cross from Matthews to Easton but ball intercepted
31'
Freekick Raith approx 20 yards out - Mullin thumps it at the county wall, think he was looking to curl it round
32'
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Ross County with a substitution off goes King and on comes Loturi
37'
Freekick Raith after a foul on Easton deep in County half
37'
From a Raith corner ball falls deep near front post play ends with Corr with a n effort and somehow ball doesn’t go over the line
39'
Easton with a shot again and Laidlaw has to palm away
44'
Easton with an effort just in the box and ball goes wide
45'
2 min additional time
45'
+2 ref blows for half time Ross County 1 (Murray 19’) Raith 0
45'
Second half is underway, Raith shooting towards their own fans this half- let’s get this over the line
46'
From a County corner ball is floated into the Raith box and White leaps up and heads home for County
53'
From a Raith corner ball played deep and Raith can’t capitalise
53'
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Raith sub off Matthews and bring on Rudden
56'
🟨
Booking for both James Brown and Easton after a foul on Easton and an altercation occurs
58'
Attendance is 5797 with 2234 Raith fans
62'
Dhanda with an effort which goes past the far post
64'
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Raith sub off Mullin and bring on Smith
66'
Great play from Raith as Rudden passes to Stanton his shot doesn’t quite make it
73'
Raith pressing the County defence play ends with a goal kick
75'
It’s a Ross County goal from Simon Murray
75'
Ross County sub off Dhanda and bring on Khela
77'
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Raith sub off Vaughan and Byrne and bring on Hamiton and Connolly
79'
Nice floating ball from Connolly to the back post, Hamilton is there but James Brown intercepts
80'
Ball falls to Hamilton, he tests Laidlaw who has to palm away
81'
Easton brings the ball into the box and has a pop, laidlaw has to dive to save
83'
Hamilton slips but he makes up for it as the ball is placed to him, he has a pop but ball wide
85'
Ross county score - Khela
87'
Ross county bring on Henderson, Allardice and Efete be taken off Murray Randall and Brown
90'
Game ends, season ends - Ross county 4 Raith 0. The team played really well today. What a season it has been though.

Photos