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    Allan Maitland previews replay 

    Tuesday, December 09, 2008 3:48:38 AM

    Good evening to everyone and welcome to the “Recs” for tonight’s Scottish Cup replay. The match has been given extra spice and importance with the knowledge that the winners will be at home to Aberdeen in the next round. I have had so many people saying that it’s a fantastic draw but of course that view will be exactly the same for everyone connected with Raith Rovers and ultimately will only apply to the winners of tonight’s game.
    We were pleased to come away from Starks Park with a draw in the first game although I was a little disappointed with our opponents comments after the game when they said that only one team tried to win the game. After our defeat the previous week against Queens Park and the 4 – 1 defeat at Kirkcaldy earlier in the month, I felt that it was important to make sure that we were defensively sound to keep ourselves in the game. If, after an hour the plan had worked then I had hoped to introduce a more attacking formation with Jamie Stevenson, Andy Ferguson, Greig Spence and Dougie Wilson all available from the bench. Unfortunately we suffered an injury to Dougie Hill in the first half and Pat Scullion was sent off after 47 minutes, which made that impossible. From then on it was simply a question of defending as well as possible and try to win the game with a breakaway. Our concentration level was superb and “Jelly” made an excellent save late in the game when needed, which secured the reply. That game marked the welcome return of Scot Buist to the side and he was outstanding at the centre of defence where he organised players around him and stood up to the aerial challenge that Raith Rovers pose. I expect a completely different game tonight and intend to provide Raith with a far more attacking problem than they encountered 10 days ago.
    My very first match in charge at Alloa was a famous victory against Livingston when they were a SPL side and we would love the opportunity of another decent cup run. For the supporters of any club in the lower leagues the chance to play against a side from the SPL is always exciting, especially at home, and I have no doubt that both sides tonight will be giving their all to achieve that goal.
    To win we need to again subdue the potent strike force that Raith Rovers have with Graham Weir, Gary Wales, Kevin Smith and Garth Wardlaw all very capable of scoring at any time. I noticed that Steven Hyslop was back in training as well and you have to admire the striking options that John has at his disposal. I don’t think it’s any secret that we are missing a striker capable of scoring in excess of 20 goals in a season and that has been one of the major failings of our team. I say one because the constant disruption to our defence due to injury has meant that we’ve never had a settled team and that has resulted in far too many goals being conceded. If we hope to progress in this tournament we need to solve both these problems fast.
    For those of you visiting the “Recs” for the first time since the developments of the park, the terracing and the exterior wall, I hope you find it more appealing than previously and appreciate the hard work of the board in providing this facility – all we need now is to improve as a football team and realise the potential that I know we have in the current squad.

    As always I thank you for your support and hope we can give you the victory you deserve.

    Allan Maitland - Team Manager

    Managers Corner