CRAIG Barr insists the Raith Rovers players know exactly where they stand with John Hughes after some dressing-room homework and a second-day lesson from the new manager.
Barr played under Hughes at Livingston and was one of the go-to men for his team-mates eager to discover what the former Falkirk and Inverness Caley Thistle boss would be like at Stark’s Park.
With the 52-year-old taking the reins on Monday following the sacking of Gary Locke, the Rovers squad did not have long to wait to find out straight from the horse’s mouth as Hughes laid out his beliefs and expectations in a day-long training exercise on Tuesday.
The Kirkcaldy outfit will be hoping it all comes to fruition on Saturday afternoon when ‘Yogi’ makes his Raith debut at home against Championship leaders, and his former club, Hibs.
Barr is certainly delighted to have been reunited with the manager who, he believes, got the best out of him at Livingston and is convinced he can revive fortunes with Rovers.
The centre-half said: “It’s been good this week with the new gaffer.
“We had a double session on Tuesday and it was just for him to let us know how he wants us to play, the options we’re going to have as individuals in specific positions.
“He was really drilling in his concepts and his principles into the boys early doors. He’s done it right away so we’ve no excuses and we know what demands are set of us.
“He’s very, very strategic and very thoughtful in how he sees the game and how reads the game, and how he gets that across to the players.
“It’s good to be on the training pitch and to listen to him. I’ve been fortunate enough to do it before, but that was five years ago.
“So, even now, for him to be going over some of the stuff again, it gives me a different picture. I’m older and more experienced and I can see more where he’s coming from.
“Because a few of us had worked under him, as soon as the gaffer’s name was in the rumour mill people were asking questions, saying ‘what’s he like?’.
“I don’t think any of the boys who have played under the gaffer have really a bad word to say.
“Especially for me, I probably played my best football under him So, for me, it’s something to look forward to and hopefully it can be a fresh start at a time when we need results and we need performances.”
Raith have not won since October 29, in a dispiriting 14-match run that has included six successive defeats in recent weeks.
However, during that sequence have been results, such as the 1-1 draw with Hibs on Christmas Eve, when they came within two minutes of a win, that prove Rovers can raise their game for the big occasion.
The other meeting of the clubs this season, in mid-October, resulted in a goalless draw, whilst last term, during an incredible seven encounters in the league, Scottish Cup and play-offs, they managed to win twice on home soil.
Barr is optimistic that with the stimulus of a new manager in the dugout, they can again make life difficult for the Easter Road outfit.
The 29-year-old added: “Over the years, with Hibs being in the league, it’s always been a tough task, with the depth of squad and personnel and finances and support they’ve got.
“But we’ve handled ourselves well over the years, generally, and probably more so at Stark’s Park.
“We know it’s going to be another tough game and it’s a good team we’re playing against. At the same time, it’s one we can look forward to.
“No-one’s expecting anything of us and, with the record we’ve got with them at Stark’s, I don’t think they’ll be overly enthusiastic about coming to play us under a new manager in a stadium where over the past few years we’ve had decent results.”