BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Forget the famous Vardy party. It was all about the Harry party at Stark’s Park as Ray McKinnon hailed his resilient Rovers following a 1-0 triumph over Hibs.
Super-sub Harry Panayiotou, on loan from newly crowned English champions Leicester City, headed home the only goal of a feisty encounter – before revealing he would have been at the Foxes talisman’s house, if not for his Rovers commitments.
It was a classic sucker-punch from the Fifers, who withstood a barrage of early pressure, with Jason Cummings missing a gilt-edged opportunity and Rovers keeper Kevin Cuthbert impressing.
On that topic, McKinnon noted: “I’m totally focused on this job, I’ve said that. My focus is on Raith Rovers – and trying to get into this Premiership.”
He then continued: “A lot of credit to my lads, they’re in good form, they’re a very strong bunch – and they wouldn’t lie down. They ground out a result.
“Even a draw would have been a good result for us. There is no question about that. Hibs will have to open up and come at us on Saturday, which may leave them a bit more vulnerable.”
And McKinnon reckons Hibs will need to contend with a nervy home crowd at Easter Road, with the Leith club no strangers to playoff pain in the past two seasons.
He added: ”‘I think pressure is a funny thing. Some people deal with it, some people don’t. We’ll find out how Hibs deal with it on Saturday. That will be a nervy place, Easter Road, because I’m pretty sure they don’t want to spend another year in this division.
“They will be desperate. They might get a wee bit edgy if they don’t get it all their own way on Saturday.”
The result is a further twist in the Foxes fairytale for young Panayiotou, 48 hours after his parent club rocked world football with a title win.
The St Kitts and Nevis internationalist beamed: “Leicester has been magical, the boys went to [Jamie] Vardy’s house, even some of the 21s, so I would have been there!
“But I was in the pub watching the game, I’m living in Dundee, and it was great.
But I couldn’t go out.
“I’m here to get Raith promoted. I need to do that before I start celebrating. I haven’t been out in Scotland yet. So, I’m not sure how the nightlife is. If we get promoted, I’ll find out!”