BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Raith Rovers have pulled off a signing coup after recruiting Leicester City striker Harry Panayiotou on loan for the rest of the season.
The Nevis and St Kitts internationalist was being tracked by Ross County last year but, after previously proving reluctant to come north of the border, the young marksman has now agreed to join the Stark’s Park club.
The 21-year-old was named young player of the month in the English Premier League’s under-21s set-up in March last year following a spell of 11 goals in 10 matches and was Leicester’s young player of the year last season.
He also became the first ever Foxes player to score an international hat-trick when he netted a treble in a 6-2 win for Nevis and St Kitts in a World Cup qualifier against Turks and Caicos Islands back in March.
Raith have seen Jon Daly and Craig Wighton leave the club this month and, after snapping up Aidan Connolly from Dundee United and Louis Longridge on loan from Hamilton Accies, McKinnon has been seeking an out-and-out striker to beef up his attacking options.
Panayiotou scored on his only first-team appearance for Leicester so far, a late winner in a 2-1 victory over Leeds United in April 2012.
McKinnon, who is also running the rule over former Norway youth cap Mergim Hereqi and former Hamilton Accies attacker Joel Thomas, said: “We’ve agreed terms with Leicester City to sign Harry Panayiotou, a young striker of theirs, on loan for the rest of the season.
“He’s been capped a few times by Saint Kitts and Nevis.
“He was also Leicester’s top goal-scorer at under-21s and their young player of the year and was named young player of the month in the under-21s Premier League last season.
“He’s coming with a good reputation and we’re taking a chance on him.
“Speaking to their under-21 manager, he thinks he’ll do a right good job for us.
“We were tipped off about him. Apparently, Ross County tried to bring him up last season but he wasn’t interested, but he’s keen this time.
“I don’t want him billed as the saviour but hopefully he’ll settle and do well for us and add a wee bit of a goal-threat for us.”
The arrival of Panayiotou could be perfectly timed for Rovers, with Mark Stewart a major doubt for tomorrow’s encounter with Queen of the South after suffering back spasms.