BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Louis Longridge watched on in horror as his Hamilton Accies pals were embarrassed by Celtic – and is determined not to suffer the same fate himself against the other half of the ‘Old Firm’ this week.
Longridge has joined Raith Rovers on loan for the remainder of the season and admitted the prospect of high-profile clashes with the likes of Rangers, Hibernian and Falkirk ensured he had no qualms about leaving Hamilton for the Championship.
The 24-year-old will be involved in one of those big matches when Rangers visit Stark’s Park on Tuesday for a league game originally postponed from last month.
The tricky forward was at Parkhead recently to see his parent club unceremoniously thrashed 8-1 by Celtic and is fully aware an on-song Rangers could make it a similarly difficult 90 minutes for Rovers this week.
But Longridge is optimistic Ray McKinnon’s men can stifle the Ibrox league leaders and boost their own promotion play-off hopes.
He said: “I went to the Celtic-Hamilton game and obviously it wasn’t a good night, and it wasn’t a good mood in the camp afterwards.
“Maybe Hamilton weren’t at their best, but Celtic hit form on the night and there’s very little you can do sometimes if a team like that gets their tails up and everything they’re hitting is going in.
“There’s quite a lot of the boys back at Hamilton that are my friends, so I still keep up to date with what’s happening and try and get along to the games as much as I can, and I felt for them.
“But I’m enjoying being at Raith and Tuesday is a game to really look forward to and hopefully one we can do well in.”
Rangers will head for Fife eight points clear of Hibernian at the top of the Championship and eager to cement their lead with a sixth straight win.
And Longridge is aware that Rovers will have to be at their best if they are to slow the Ibrox side’s apparent relentless march to the title.
He added: “Rangers are a very, very big club and it’s going to be a really difficult game, but these are the games you play football for, to play in front of big crowds and against the better players in the league.
“With the quality we’ve got, hopefully we can get a positive result. The manager will set us out to make it difficult for Rangers.
“That might be hard to do on the night, because of the quality they’ve got.
“But you never know, if everything goes to plan and we all stick to our tasks and give everything, then we could get something from the game.
“It’s not impossible, but we know with the quality they’ve got, especially in the final third, they can hurt teams.
“Hopefully we can keep it tight at the back and take the chances that come our way.”