Raith Rovers boss Ray McKinnon brushes off Dundee United speculation & lauds his resilient Rovers after Hibs win

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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.

Harry PanayiotouNevertheless, a showing of heart, desire and organisation will do nothing to quell the interest in McKinnon, whose side have now racked up 12 games unbeaten, with Dundee United reportedly interested.

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.”

Vardy

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!”

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