BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Ray McKinnon has revealed Raith Rovers had an incredible 11 players on the treatment table earlier this week and just one fit defender – but he insists there is no way they will be feeling sorry for themselves against on-form Morton tonight.
With the likes of Kyle Benedictus, Lewis Toshney, Rory McKeown and Iain Davidson all nursing injuries of one sort or another, the Kirkcaldy side’s preparations for this evening’s trip to Cappielow have been far from ideal.
However, McKinnon is confident he will be able to piece together a team capable of taking on their hosts and has heaped praise on his players’ strength of character as they prepare to play through the pain barrier.
Revealing Davidson will play with a broken nose, the Stark’s Park boss said: “We will still have a team to put out against Morton and I fully expect them to be competitive.
“We had 11 players out injured earlier this week but we do not want to focus on that. We really need to accentuate the positive.
“I will still have a strong squad to play on Friday and I expect them to deliver as they are good players.
“Iain Davidson has a broken nose but he insists he will play. He was going to wear a mask but he says it gets in the way when he heads the ball so he will do without – so full credit to him.
“Benedictus has had a scan and further down the line he may need a knee op but he told me on Tuesday that he would be playing on Friday.
“He’s the type who will play through and that is the sort of character we have at the club.
“We have our problems but, no matter what, we will be having a right good go on Friday.
“Despite all the injuries, we are still in there in the league. We have a very good group with strong characters.”
One positive for Raith on the injury front has been the return to fitness of Ross Callachan, who played his first 90 minutes since dislocating his shoulder in August.
The 22-year-old is determined to see Rovers register their first league victory in seven matches, even though they have gone four games undefeated following last Friday’s 1-1 draw away to Queen of the South
And the youngster admits he will draw on the experience of Scott Robertson at Cappielow after taking inspiration from the former Hibernian and Dundee United player.
He said: “He’s a good role model and a good guy for myself to look up to.
“He’s in the gym every day, he works hard and he’s got a great attitude. He does a lot of the nasty stuff that sometimes fans don’t see on the pitch.
“But when you’re actually a player playing with him you appreciate it a lot more.
“Sometimes I have a wee chat with him. Scott’s quite a quiet guy, generally, so I would have to approach him, but if you approach him he’ll welcome you with open arms and guide you through the games, really.
“I see a lot of similarities between the way we both play, so he’s great to learn from. Playing against him you can tell he’s a good player. He wasn’t at Hibs for a couple of years for no reason.”