BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
RAITH ROVERS chairman Alan Young reckons he has landed the hardest working boss in Scotland with the capture of Barry Smith.
Smith, 43, has penned a two-year deal at Stark’s Park to replace John Hughes, whose disastrous three-month reign saw the Kirkcaldy club crash into League 1.
And Young is certain Rovers have got the right man to guide them back to the Championship after receiving lavish recommendations for the ex-Dundee gaffer.
“He knows his way around Scottish football, he has terrific contacts within the game and, already, we have spoken about the possibilities of players coming in, and one or two of his ideas excite me.
“He has been there and done it and has done a fine job wherever he has been, and that experience will be vital in the current challenge.
“This is a very important appointment and we have taken our time and spoken to a lot of people and I’m glad we got the man we wanted.”
Young is acutely aware that changing the mood at Stark’s Park, from the dressing room to the terraces, will be pivotal.
Rovers slipped into a malaise under Gary Locke last term, embarking on a 14-game winless run leading to his sacking, before Hughes took charge.
Although results picked up slightly, ‘Yogi’ proved unpopular, with his repeated questioning of the players’ quality, character and attitudes – publicly and privately – alienating the dressing room.
Raith went down following a penalty shootout in the playoffs against Brechin before leaving the field to a cacophony of jeers.
Young continued: “We absolutely need to bring positivity to this club.
“We have a new manager in place, he has fabulous plans for the first-team and we need to be enthusiastic, we want everyone to be excited about coming to Stark’s Park to watch the football on a Saturday.
“Not only do we need to see the players regain confidence, but the backroom staff and the fans as well – knowing that we have a team ready to put on a performance.
“I think for a while now there has been a feeling of ‘oh no, what’s going to happen next?’ Hopefully that trepidation is replaced by enthusiasm.”
Smith has already set his sights on emulating Livingston, by bouncing back to the Championship at the first time of asking.
And Young added: “It may sound simplistic, but we have selected a manager who can put a winning team on the pitch consistently. If we focus on the next game, then the next game – and keep putting together wins – then we will get promoted.”