‘He scores when he wants, he scores when he wants.  Brian Graham, he scores when he wants.’

Brian Graham may only be in his second season as a Raith Rovers player, but already he has firmly established himself as a fans favourite in Kirkcaldy.

He joined Raith Rovers on a free transfer in the summer of 2011, and says that then-manager, John McGlynn, was a big factor in switching to the Kirkcaldy side.

“It’s nice when someone like John gives you a call and they want to sign you.  John sold the club to me and spoke very highly of the place.”

“John had just won the Manager of the Year award.  You want to go and play under those kinds of people.”

Brian Graham

“I’ve actually been surprised at how big a club Raith Rovers actually is. I never knew much about them before I joined, but you see the fans and the passion around Kirkcaldy and I think it’s a really good club to be at.”

Brian made his return to first-team action as a second half substitute in last weekend’s derby loss against Dunfermline, having sat out 2 games following his sending off in the Scottish Cup Third Round tie against Airdrie United.

“It was good to be back, but I was bitterly disappointed not to start the game. I don’t like being a sub.  I want to be out there helping the boys, and if I can work myself hard in training hopefully I can get myself back in the selection for Saturday.”

Losing any game is a bitter pill to swallow, but none more so than losing at home against your fiercest rivals.

Raith Rovers players and fans alike are still hurting from the 3-1 derby defeat against Dunfermline, a game from which Brian says it’s time to move on and get it out of the system.

“There’s nothing we can do about it now.  It’s the past. Obviously we’re still hurting from it and we just need to pick ourselves up.  It’s disappointing for everyone concerned.”

“The fans turned out in their numbers, and the players had high expectations going into the game. We were going well in the league, we hadn’t lost at Stark’s Park and we were going in with high hopes.”

“The way it turned out, in the first half I don’t think we were dominating the game but we got ourselves in front and I think we were in control. I couldn’t really see us losing a goal, and then all of a sudden they get a free kick, the boy scores the free kick, we’re down to 10 men then down to 9.”

By now, Rovers fans are probably becoming sick of the sight of Airdrie United. Having played them twice already in November in the Scottish Cup, we now head back to the Excelsior Stadium again this weekend on First Division duty – a game Brian is keen to play in, even more so given the premature end to his afternoon on Raith’s previous visit to Airdrie.

“Obviously that’s out of my hands, but I’ll do everything in my powers to make sure that I’m back in the starting 11 for Saturday.”

As previously mentioned, Brian joined The Rovers during the summer of 2011, but looks back on his time with his previous club, Greenock Morton, very fondly.

“I enjoyed my time at Morton. I was there as a YTS young boy.  Jim McInally gave me a chance and I had some good times and some bad times.  That’s just the way things go.”

“I really enjoyed my last season under Allan Moore.  I was offered a new contract but I believed, for me, it was time to go. I had 6 years at the club and I thought it was time to move on, make a change and get a fresh challenge.”

“I’ve enjoyed getting away and trying something different because I’m enjoying my time at The Rovers. I really enjoyed it last season with John and I’m enjoying it this season with Grant.  I think we’ve got a good dressing room in there”

Even the most ardent Raith Rovers supporter will openly admit there hasn’t always been that feeling of a united dressing room in Kirkcaldy.

As much as we may want to, the current generation of Raith Rovers supporters will never forget the disastrous Claude Anelka regime which swept through Stark’s Park for a short time in 2004, but Brian explained just how different the mood is among the current crop of Rovers players.

“We’ve got some big characters in the dressing room, and everybody gets on with each other. We’ve all got high standards.  Even if it’s in training or if it’s a game on a Saturday everybody wants the same thing at the club.”

“I think that’s what we’re all benefiting from and everybody seems to be getting on which is a good thing, so long may it continue.”

Now that Airdrie United have finally been put to bed at the second time of asking in the Scottish Cup, the squad can look ahead to a Fourth Round tie at home against Highland League opposition in the shape of Deveronvale – a game that Brian was quick to stress the players and staff won’t be treating any differently to any other.

“Yeah, obviously it will be a tricky tie, don’t get me wrong. Grant (Murray), Laurie (Ellis) and Paul Smith will have their homework well and truly done, because obviously we don’t want to go into a game like that blind. They do it for every game.  Deveronvale won’t be any different.”

“Deveronvale have done extremely well.  They’ve beat Peterhead, they’ve beat Stirling Albion and I think they beat Wick 6-0 as well, and we had a hard game up at Wick.”

“I don’t think it will be an easy tie, but I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully we can get by in the cup and get a wee cup run.”
Footballers using Twitter is one of the most fashionable trends these days. Brian is just one of the many players in the Raith Rovers dressing room who use Twitter – Simon Mensing, Grant Anderson, Greig Spence, Ross Callachan and Reece Donaldson being a few more, but Brian’s views about Twitter are surprisingly different to some higher-profile players down south.
“I use it now and again.  I wouldn’t say I was like Greig, he loves it. I try my best not to use it, but sometimes you’ve got to say things when you get a wee bit angry.  It’s just one of these things.”
“It’s good to have it, but not just from a footballer’s perspective because obviously you’ve got friends on Twitter as well.”

“It’s good to follow people you know from school that you haven’t kept in contact with. You get to follow them and get a wee chat with them, so it’s good from that side of it as well.”

Undoubtedly, one of the great advantages of Twitter is that the site allows players and fans alike to share a bond closer than ever before, but again Brian remained humble about this often-fragile relationship.

“You have to be really careful with what you say, because you don’t want to be offending anybody.”

“People see your job as a footballer and they put you on a different pedestal, which probably they shouldn’t because we’re just the same as everyone else.”

He may only be in his second season as a Raith Rovers player, but with 15 goals from just 30 Raith Rovers appearances so far, it really does seem as if Brian Graham scores when he wants.

By Martin Hart

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