The emergence of a quartet of youngsters in the current Raith Rovers side has given the team its most youthful look in some time. Indeed, the last time the first team featured so many precocious players at this level was arguably the 1992-93 season, which saw the blossoming talents of, amongst others, Colin Cameron, Stevie Crawford, and Jason Dair.

Ross Callachan, Ross Laidlaw and Reece Donaldson had all featured to a greater or lesser extent in the first team before this campaign but for Lewis Vaughan, the fourth member of this burgeoning group, this season marks something of a breakthrough for the Edinburgh-born teenager.

He’s timed his arrival into the first team well, with the club not only involved in a play-off push but also expectantly awaiting a cup final in April, along with the additional excitement of a Scottish Cup tie against Hibernian at Easter Road a week on Saturday.

However, as Lewis explains, whilst he’s been at Raith Rovers since he was 14, he was first on the books of the Leith side’s fiercest rivals,

“I was at Hearts to start with when I was really young but I left there when I was about 13 or 14. I went back to Boys’ Club level after that and played for a season at Leith Athletic. I signed for Raith at the end of that season and I’ve spent one season at under-15 level, one at under-17 and then two at under-19s before this season.”

Despite only recently turning 18, Lewis actually made his debut in the final match of the 2011/12 season, with a late cameo appearance in a 3-1 victory over Morton at Cappielow. Three more substitute appearances followed last season but this term has seen Vaughan ever present in the squad.

“I made my first appearance the season before last at Greenock. I wasn’t expecting to get on, so I was pretty surprised when I got the shout. On the plus side, it meant I didn’t have a chance to get nervous.”

“I came on as a sub a couple of times last season and I was hoping to get even more game time this time round. I knew we had a slightly smaller squad than normal and, with that being the case, I’d maybe have a wee chance but I certainly wasn’t just expecting to get a game.  I was more just hopeful really.”

“This is only my second season as a full-timer, so you don’t expect to play every week. I’ve really pushed myself to try and get a first team slot and I told myself that if the chance did come along, I needed to make sure I took it.”

With 3 goals in just 5 starts this season, Lewis would appear to have done just that. His first goal came during the 6-0 League Cup win over Queens Park at the beginning of August, while his first start came later that same month in a 0-0 draw with Dundee. His position that day, playing just behind the main forward, is the role he thinks he’s most suited to,

“We were already five nil up when I scored my first goal but it felt brilliant. I really enjoyed it and a couple of weeks later I made the starting line-up for the first time. I was told at training on the Friday so I was able to prepare myself the day before the game. I was pretty nervous but you’ve just got to put that to the back of your mind and get on with it.”

“I was playing “in the hole that day”, just off the striker, Gordon Smith, and I think, at the moment, that’s what I would regard as my main position. However, I’m happy to play anywhere the gaffer asks me to go.”

Manager, Grant Murray, was clearly impressed by Vaughan’s form as the forward was offered a new contract extension in September. It was an offer that he didn’t need to think too long and hard about.

“I signed a new deal a couple of months ago. The gaffer called me into his office and told me that he thought I’d been playing well and that the Club wanted to offer me a new contract.  I was more than happy to sign it. It keeps me at the Club for the next few seasons, at least, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Lewis also explained that another aspect of his development that he’s enjoyed recently has come away from Stark’s Park, as last season saw him volunteering with the charity, Street Soccer Scotland.

“As part of your apprenticeship, you can do some work experience or a college course. I got the opportunity to volunteer with Street Soccer, which is a charity that uses football and education to help people that have been through hard times, helping them to get back on their feet. The football is one side of it and the         classroom-based aspect of it gives them a qualification too. I was going along on my days off and helping with the coaching sessions. I really enjoyed it and I think I got quite a lot out of it.”

While this season has been a steep learning curve for Vaughan, having players alongside him who have risen through the ranks has helped integrate him into the set-up. He adds, however, that having experienced players around him has helped immensely,

“I came through with guys like Reece Donaldson, Ross Laidlaw and Ross Callachan. We all served our apprenticeships at roughly the same time, although they were just ahead of me, so it’s great to see us all contributing to the team this season.”

“Even though there’s a lot of young players in the team just now, there’s a fair amount of experience as well. Guys like Calum Elliot and Liam Fox are always talking to you throughout the game, helping you out and keeping you right. That’s a massive benefit to us.”

With the team challenging at the right end of the table, as well as big cup matches in the not-too-distant future, this current Raith squad has a chance of creating their own piece of history at the Club. While Lewis feels the season has gone well, from both a personal and a team perspective, he explains that the players should focus on the next game, rather than weeks ahead.

“I think this season has gone pretty well so far. We’ve obviously been on a disappointing run over the last wee while but hopefully, we can turn that around soon and get back into the play-off positions again. I know people are talking about the Hibs game and the cup-final in April but there’s loads of football to be played before now and then. You can’t get too far ahead of yourself and the Cowdenbeath game on Saturday is massive for both teams. Hopefully, we can go to Central Park and win.”

While 2013 was an exciting year for Lewis Vaughan, 2014 has the potential to be even more memorable.

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