BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Ray McKinnon is determined to keep Raith Rovers’ feet on the ground, despite a 2-0 victory over Queen of the South giving them a seven-point lead in the race for a promotion play-off place.
First-half goals from Mark Stewart and James Craigen, the latter from the spot following a Chris Higgins hand ball, were enough to make it four wins from five for the Stark’s Park men.
It is an impressive spell of form that has taken them well clear in fourth, albeit with nearest challengers Queens enjoying a game in hand.
However, McKinnon, who was careful not to make predictions for the campaign when he took over from Grant Murray last summer, is keen to remain coy over his side’s chances of earning an end-of-season shot at promotion.
He said: “We’d obviously rather be seven points clear than seven points behind. But we’re not even looking at it like that.
“We just have to keep playing and see where we end up.
“If we get into the play-offs then great and if we don’t we’ll regroup for next season.
“Now we’re in that position we’ll give it everything we’ve got to try and stay there, but it’ll be tough.”
Raith had to withstand a second-half rally from the Doonhamers.
But, after suffering a scare when they were pegged back from 4-1 up to hang on to a 4-3 win over St Mirren at the weekend, McKinnon was thrilled with the resolute way his side coped with Queens’ challenge.
He commented: “I’m really pleased with the boys, they really went about their business properly.
“In the last couple of games we’ve lost control at certain points but tonight I thought we were in control for long periods.
“Queens are a good side and they threw everything at us but we coped with it and I think we could have probably scored another few goals.
“We had a awful lot of chances and Ryan Hardie could have had a hat-trick!
“I’m really pleased, it was just a really, really strong performance.
A sickening head knock suffered by Iain Davidson early on put something of a dampener on a good night’s work for Rovers.
The 32-year-old looked to have been knocked out cold and needed five minutes of treatment before being stretchered off the pitch wearing a neck brace.
The former Dundee midfielder was taken straight to hospital but there was good news after the match.
McKinnon added: “Iain was taken to hospital but I’ve had news that he’s out. I don’t know the extent of his injury but he took a real bad one.
“I’ve heard he’s in good shape, so we’re pleased with that.”