BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
RYAN STEVENSON insists his move to Raith Rovers is a marriage made in heaven – after being sold on the switch by his best man.
The 32-year-old has penned a deal with the Fifers until the end of the season after leaving Championship rivals, renewing his profitable partnership with former Hearts boss Gary Locke at Stark’s Park.
Stevenson has also been reunited with former Tynecastle teammates Kevin McHattie and Rudi Skacel in Kirkcaldy, but the bustling attacker has revealed it was Rovers goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert who provided the perfect sounding board before he signed.
The duo have been close friends ever since they played together at St Johnstone, spending five years together with the McDiarmid Park men, with Cuthbert even playing a starring role on Stevenson’s big day.
The former Ipswich and Partick Thistle man told Capital City Press: “It’s well documented that I know the gaffer [Gary Locke] and a couple of the boys, but Kevin Cuthbert is actually my best mate and he told me all about the club.
“I’ve played against Raith Rovers before, so I have an idea what the club is about, and Kevin only had good things to say about the place. He has absolutely loved his time here and says it is a great set-up with a really good group of boys.
“He was actually the best man at my wedding, I have known him since our St Johnstone days – more than 10 years now – so I knew he would give me an honest opinion and he was raving about the place.
“So as soon as I heard about the interest, my priority was to get myself here and now I want to hit the ground running.”
Stevenson’s arrival has been met with a lukewarm reception by some Rovers supporters, with the experienced forward enduring an underwhelming first half of the campaign with Dumbarton – albeit illuminated by occasional moments of magic such as a wonderful goal in last month’s win over Queen of the South.
He is conscious that some may think his career is on a downward trajectory but, at 32, he is determined to prove he still has what it takes to star at a full-time level and repay the faith of a manager he holds in high regard.
Stevenson continued candidly: “I think a lot of people might be looking at me and thinking ‘you are over the hill’. The decision to go part-time in the summer maybe added to that opinion.
“However, I know what I can bring to the table, I know the qualities I have, and I’m looking forward to getting back to a full-time level and showing what I can do.
“I can’t wait to get back to being in every day with the boys and I’ll look to do really well for Raith. We are not far away from the playoff positions and, with a bit of momentum, you never know what could happen if you go on a good run. It is a big few weeks for the club and I’m here to play my part.”