BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
RAY McKinnon has given his players a simple message ahead of next month’s play-offs after telling them they will take Raith Rovers back into the Premiership if they can maintain their current stunning form.
In their last 10 outings, the Stark’s Park men have won an incredible seven, drawn twice and lost just once – form that matches that of champions Rangers. Taken over their last six matches, Rovers are better than the Ibrox side.
It is that sensational sequence that has put McKinnon in bullish mood as he prepares the Kirkcaldy outfit for a shot at promotion.
Whilst Falkirk and Hibernian engage themselves in an increasingly tetchy battle for second place, Raith lie in wait for the losers of that fight and are determined their involvement in the play-offs will not end at the quarter-final stage.
McKinnon accepts they face a mountainous task if they are to win promotion, but has seen the qualities required in his team in recent weeks to dare to dream.
Speaking ahead of this evening’s trip to face Dumbarton, he said: “About five weeks ago, I was talking about us having the hardest run-in possible.
“We had six away games and three at home against Rangers, Hibs and Falkirk.
“We’ve won four away from home, we’ve beaten Hibs and drawn with Rangers.
“That is an incredible run of form, unbelievable. We did have the hardest run-in and we’ve smashed it.
“If you look at the form table in the last 10 games, we’re joint with Rangers. If you look at the last six games, we’re ahead of Rangers.
“I’ve said to the boys, if we can do what we’ve just done for the last nine games, we’ll be in the Premiership.
“And we know we’re capable of doing it.
“We know it’s difficult but that’s the sort of mindset we’re trying to focus on, to just keep going and winning and winning.
“Teams get on these runs where they don’t get beat and they have that desire not to get beat, and that’s what we need to keep going.
“That’s why these three games are important.”
McKinnon believes momentum could be crucial going into next month’s play-off quarter-final against either Hibs or Falkirk.
But the Kirkcaldy boss is putting his play-off thoughts on hold as he targets third in the table.
Rovers are currently five points behind Hibs having played a game more but insists they must aim high as they go into their remaining three games.
After Dumbarton today, the Fifers face Falkirk and then Livingston on the final day of the campaign.
McKinnon added: “We’re not thinking about the play-offs yet – I’m thinking about third place.
“If Hibs get beat by Rangers and draw a couple of games, we’re bang there if we win all our games.
“We’ve got a chance of finishing third. It’s probably a remote chance, but we’ll go out and try and win every game.
“If we do that, it will keep the momentum going into the play-offs.”