BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
HARRY Panayiotou insists Raith Rovers can emulate parent club Leicester City and upset the odds to win a dream promotion to the Premiership.
After an incredbile season, on-loan Panayiotou is keeping his fingers crossed his employers can get themselves over the finishing line with a win against Manchester United this afternoon to complete one of the most remarkable stories in world sport.
The Foxes have come from nowhere to stand on the brink of pipping their mega-rich rivals to a Premier League title that has not been won by anyone outside Chelsea, Arsenal and the two Manchester teams since Blackburn Rovers triumphed 21 years ago.
Panayiotou reckons it would be as big a surprise if Raith could emerge victorious from three two-legged ties to clinch promotion to the top-flight in the coming weeks.
But the Saint Kitts and Nevis internationalist admits he and his team-mates do not have far to look for inspiration as they bid to pull off a huge shock with the Rovers.
The 21-year-old said: “I’m excited about Leicester for Sunday and hopefully they can bring it home.
“At the start of the season, when they were doing so well, people were saying they wouldn’t be able to keep it up.
“But when they were still top of the league at Christmas, there was no reason to be scared anymore.
“It’s not really a case now of ‘can you believe it?’. It’s more a case of ‘they deserve it’ and I’m just delighted for them.
“It’s a bit like Raith. We’re going into the play-offs as underdogs but we’ve got through the last 10 games unbeaten, and we’ve only lost once – away to Rangers – in the last 14 matches.
“Hopefully we can emulate what Leicester have done because that has shown that money isn’t everything.
“It’s about heart as well.”
Raith will find out this afternoon whether they will face Falkirk or Hibs in the play-off quarter-finals, starting with Wednesday’s first-leg at home.
With all the attention on who will finish in the runners-up spot, Panayiotou reckons everyone has been wrong to forget about Rovers.
But the striker, who netted on his first-team debut for Leicester four years ago, believes that could prove to be a positive.
He added: “I think it’s a bit disrespectful, because people seem to be taking us lightly. But that’s probably to our advantage.
“We’re coming into the play-offs without any fears. We’ve just got to give it our all and hopefully that will be good enough.”