Raith Rovers boss Ray McKinnon insists play-offs will be stress-free for his team



Raith Rovers manager Ray McKinnon insists his side would head into the Championship play-offs without a care in the world, as they have already surpassed their own expectations this season.

Five wins from seven matches during March has all but sealed a top four place and Rovers’ impressive run of form was also recognised yesterday after McKinnon picked up the Ladbrokes Manager of the Month award.

Former Dundee United midfielder McKinnon is still refusing to accept that the Kirkcaldy club have secured a play-off berth even though it would take a catastrophic collapse for Queen of the South to leap-frog them.

But should they get there, McKinnon, whose side are likely to face a play-off quarter final tie against either Hibs or Falkirk, insists their opponents would have to contend with overbearing levels of pressure.

 Raith Rovers manager Ray McKinnon receives the Ladbrokes Championship Manager of the Month Award for March.

Raith Rovers manager Ray McKinnon receives the Ladbrokes Championship Manager of the Month Award for March.

McKinnon, whose side delayed Rangers’ title party with a 3-3 draw against the champions-elect at the weekend, said: “There was no expectation level to get into the play-offs but now that we’re close, we’re going to give it everything

“I don’t think we’ll have anything to fear from anybody going into these games. We’ll be the underdogs which suits us just fine.

“If we get there, the pressure is on all the teams that are coming to play us and that’s maybe a good thing for us personally.

“Hibs have got a big run of games and the expectation levels on them will be massive. They’re a massive club, they’re a Premiership club with a Premiership stadium, fan base – everything about them is Premiership.

“The expectations levels will be very high on a team like Hibs to get back up.

“If we do get into the play-offs we’ll fly under the radar, there’s no expectation there.

“Whoever it is, if we do get there, they’ll not want to play us – I’m pretty certain of that.

“We can enjoy it, there’s no pressure on us whatsoever. Budget-wise they’re in different leagues to us.

“Rangers, obviously; Hibs are in a different league from us and Falkirk are posting a £1 million profit.

“We’ve got the lowest full-time budget in the league by a mile. Where we are and what we’re doing is absolutely incredible and that’s down to the players’ attitude and commitment.”

Raith will seal a top four place if they avoid defeat at the Doonhamers on Saturday and McKinnon admits he would then look to rest some of his squad in their final three league matches ahead of next month’s play-offs.

He added: “I hate tempting fate and everyone has us in the play-offs already.

“But if we can get there then we can rest some boys, give other lads some games and make sure everyone is nice and sharp going into the play-offs.”