BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
GARY LOCKE admits Raith Rovers failed to respond to the early loss of new signing Ryan Stevenson – after the former Hearts attacker’s home debut ended in the hospital.
The 32-year-old played a major role in the opening goal of the contest, dispossessing Mark Kerr to allow Chris Johnston to hare through on goal and dink the ball beyond the on-rushing Danny Rogers.
His assist was all the more impressive given it came just minutes after he was flattened by Rogers as the duo challenged for a cross, taking a knee in the back and and arm to the head.
Stevenson was ultimately forced off after 19 minutes complaining of double vision, while he later felt nauseous. In his absence, and without their pivot in attack, Rovers fell apart and the Bairns took control of the contest.
Goals from Myles Hippolyte, Bob McHugh and a Craig Sibbald secured a comprehensive 4-1 win for the visitors, leaving Rovers five points adrift of the playoff places and without a win since October.
Locke said: “I felt we started the game well, took the lead, but when Ryan [Stevenson] came off, I felt it unsettled us a bit – and you are not going to win games if you lose the type of goals we did. Some of them were pretty poor.
“Ryan took a head knock and was hit in the back as well. He was taken to hospital after the game and we will need to wait at least 24 hours to see how he is.
“He has a bit of concussion and couldn’t see properly.
“It was a blow to us, because I thought he had started well and, early in the game, he was causing them one or two problems. To lose him was a disappointment.
“However, we have got to respond a lot better than what we did when he came off.”