My Team & I : Raith Rovers

By Will Lyon

Twitter: @wrl1989


Why Raith?

I have my dad to “thank” for being a Raith fan. He was brought up in a village half way between Kirkcaldy and Dunfermline, but he chose to support the less successful team (*sigh*). I actually grew up in Jersey, but I was made aware of Raith Rovers when bought the away strip shortly after the club beat Celtic in the 1994 League Cup Final. Through the years my dad and I would often take in a pre-season friendly on our summer holidays and when I moved to Edinburgh University in 2007 I was finally able to watch Raith every week. I’m not sure if it was the 2-1 defeat to Berwick Rangers in front of 570 fans or attending a Scottish Cup Third Round fixture against Threave Rovers and being so cold that my whole body became numb, but I was hooked very quickly.

Favourite Player?

Rovers haven’t possessed a real quality player since I’ve watched them, but I would go for left sided defender, Laurie Ellis. He is now in his third spell at Starks Park and although he isn’t the best defender the club has ever had, he reads the game better than most. Laurie comes across as someone who loves playing for the club and goes out of his way to interact with the fans. Also, featuring at left back, his light hearted berating of the nearby linesman, or “lino”, is generally quite amusing.

Favourite Game?

A 2-2 draw with local rivals Dunfermline last year at East End Park was probably the best game I have ever watched. It was a top of the table clash with Raith sitting in first place on 26 points and the Pars just one point behind. The tension rose to another level with kick-off being delayed by ten minutes due to an unexpectedly big crowd.

The Pars absolutely battered Raith in the first half and the 2-0 half time scoreline did not accurately convey the utter dominance they had. To add insult to injury, it also meant that as things stood, Dunfermline would go top of the league. However, the second half was a different story.

Just six minutes into the second period Dunfermline’s Andy Kirk sliced a shot wide of an open goal. If Kirk’s shot had found the back of the net, most agree that would have been no way back for Raith. However, Rovers took confidence from the miss and started to gain a foothold in the match, but were struggling to find a way through the Pars defence. This changed on the 73rd minute when Dunfermline’s Neil McGregor was shown a second yellow card and given his marching orders by referee Eddie Smith. The atmosphere was now becoming more volatile.

Three minutes after McGregor’s dismissal, Kirk was taken onto the sidelines to receive treatment for an injury and while this was happening, manager Jim McIntyre made two substitutions, one replacing Kirk himself. However, after a rub of the magic sponge Kirk trotted back onto the pitch, apparently oblivious to the fact he had been subbed. Play raged on with Dunfermline back to eleven men but soon a Raith fan nearby chirped “they’ve got eleven men again”. His neighbour screamed “whit?!” followed by a loud “BOOOOO!”. As word spread, the chants of “cheats, cheats, cheats” boomed out of the travelling support. Referee Smith brought his finger out and started counting the number of Dunfermline players. After consulting his nearby linesman he swiftly booked Kirk and ordered him off the pitch.

The match restarted again and seven minutes from time Raith clawed a goal back. Dunfermline ‘keeper Chris Smith inexplicably dropped a ball at the feet of Iain Williamson and the Raith winger duly passed it into the back of the net. Just minutes later Williamson unbelievably hit the bar from just yards out, but the away support continued to urge their side on. Then, two minutes into injury time Willie Dyer clipped a speculative cross into the box which Allan Walker nodded on and the ball looped – almost in slow motion – into the top corner of the goal. The noise was incredible and the hugs were intense. Walker’s equalising goal had kept Raith top of the league and the fans were sure to let the quickly escaping home support know this.

Favourite Strip?

The 125th anniversary “Blackburn style” strip was the most aesthetically pleasing one, made all the better by the fact Raith won the Second Division wearing it.

Worst Thing About Being A Raith Fan?

When Raith beat Celtic in the 1994 League Cup Final a commentator apparently claimed that the fans would be “dancing in the streets of Raith tonight”. This was a glaring error as Rovers home town is Kirkcaldy, not Raith. However, the phrase is repeated far too often for my liking and has become a little tiresome now.

Funniest Moment?

For the last two seasons Raith had a striker called Gregory Tade. In his first campaign he was well known for tripping over his own feet and blazing shots over the bar from two yards out, but the funniest moment came during a match against Airdrie United in October 2009. Tade – who was already on a yellow card – received a through ball, turned his marker and blasted the ball not only over the bar, but out of the ground. The referee ran up to Tade, threw up a yellow card, followed by a red. A large number of Raith fans began to start laughing hysterically, for it appeared Tade had been given a second yellow card and sent off for simply being rubbish. To this day the sending off is a mystery. There was no foul in the build up to the shot and with Raith winning 2-0 at the time, one can only assume the referee mistook Tade’s wild shot as an act of time wasting.

Favourite Moment?

The full time whistle after beating Dundee at Dens Park in the Scottish Cup Quarter Final last season is by far and away my favourite moment. The sheer euphoria of the fact that Raith were going to Hampden Park, not to play Queens Park, but to play in a Scottish Cup Semi Final was just incredible. It was also the first Scottish Cup Semi Final Raith had made in forty-seven years which made me feel like I was part of the club making history.

One Response to “My Team & I : Raith Rovers”

  1. Nice write-up Will. I wasn’t aware of the Tadé sending off, but sums him up pretty well 😀

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