BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
RAY McKinnon has backed Raith Rovers’ controversial decision to give Rangers supporters the whole of the Stark’s Park main stand for next weekend’s clash.
In a move similar to the one heavily criticised by St Mirren supporters last week, Rovers are to move season-ticket holders out of the Turnbull Hutton stand for the visit of Rangers next Saturday.
It means the Ibrox club will have fans on three sides of the Kirkcaldy stadium for an away game.
The Fifers wrote to supporters recently to explain the decision, with chief executive Eric Drysdale insisting they wished it had not been necessary but, with cash-flow stretched, was down to ‘sound business reasons’.
The move is expected to generate an extra £30,000 of revenue.
And McKinnon, whose side went 10 points clear in fourth spot with Tuesday’s 2-1 win over St Mirren, believes the decision was a ‘no-brainer’ and will not hinder his side’s chances of pulling off a shock.
He said: “It doesn’t bother me, not in the slightest. I think it’s a smart move.
“We’ve not got fortunes in the bank. You need to maximise any money you can get.
“I think Rangers had sold 5,500 tickets and we’d sold a hundred. They’re getting an extra 1,400 tickets. You’ve got to take that money.
“It’s a no-brainer. The club need it. I think they’ve got to do it.
“And all the Raith fans will be in the one area. We hope that stand is full and it adds atmosphere to the game.
“I think it’s the smart thing to do. Definitely I’m on board.
“I know some fans will be a bit annoyed but, if you look at the bigger story, the money we’ve got – if we had no money to pay wages, for example – then I think they would understand.”
Meanwhile, McKinnon insists he has no worries over James Craigen’s commitment to Raith’s play-off push, despite the midfielder having penned a pre-contract with possible promotion rivals Falkirk.
The former Partick Thistle player will move to Falkirk in the summer, but has been backed to play a key role as Rovers seek to join the Bairns in the play-offs.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s trip to face Morton, McKinnon said: “I had a good chat with James and told him I wouldn’t cut my nose off to spite my face. If he’s doing the business, he’ll play.
“It’s all about the team. And he’s responded brilliantly in his past two games. His energy levels on Tuesday were fantastic, so I’ve no worries about him at all.
“Sometimes it does work to your advantage, a player wanting to go out on a high.
“Put it this way, if his level dropped, he wouldn’t play in my team. But he’s not that type.”