Former East Fife striker Liam Buchanan insists every match Raith Rovers play this season is vital – and that doesn’t change their game heading into this afternoon’s Fife Derby. East Fife’s Kevin Smith, on the other hand, believes all the pressure is on the full-time side to go and get a result at New Bayview.
Injured Fife Captain, Kevin Smith, knows how tough a match today’s Derby will be.
“We have had a good start to the season, especially as it is a new squad. We have gelled quickly and we are full of confidence. We know how much these games means to the fans to get the bragging rights but we will just concentrate on the match and try get another three points. In saying that, it can only help your season if you can beat your local rivals.”
“When I had my spells at Raith Rovers and we played East Fife, you felt that weight of expectation on your shoulders because you are the full-time club. It is a derby so anything can happen on the day, but, there is no doubt they will have the pressure on their shoulders and hopefully we can take advantage of that: if we can frustrate them and try hit them on the counter, then we will stand a chance as we know they hold the advantage.”
Smith reiterates the message sent out by manager Darren Young yesterday, of encouraging as many home fans along to New Bayview this afternoon as possible.
“I know myself, personally, what it means playing in front of your own supporters. Having played at Stark’s Park, I know how big their following is, but, I suspect they would rather be playing us at home especially as we have the astroturf now, we have to also try use that to our advantage.”
The mood in the Raith Rovers camp is only of confidence, confirms former East Fife frontman, Liam Buchanan.
“I think they have done very good, so far. Darren Young did a great job with Albion Rovers and he always produced a well-organised side, so, I don’t expect anything different this afternoon from East Fife. They have good players: Ben Gordon and Sparky [Mark Docherty] who I know well, so, that shows how tough they will be to play against, but, we aren’t under any illusions – we know how tough each and every match is, but, if we apply ourselves right then we are in good stead. I think, sometimes, when teams come to Stark’s Park may raise their game a little bit whereas, when we go away from home, we know what is required and we all know our jobs. Playing against a team such as ourselves, I think many others in the league will see defeating us as a bit of a scalp. They will raise their game but we just need to take care of ourselves.”
With the Rovers sitting just one point ahead of their local rivals heading into today’s match, while also facing Ayr United – who have won all three matches so far – in their next league encounter, how vital is this afternoon’s match for the Kirkcaldy club?
“Every game is vital. Every game we need to go and win – it doesn’t matter what stage of the season we are at. We have a winning mentality within the changing room and I can’t see that stopping. We go into every game wanting to win – we know throughout the season we aren’t always going to get three ponts, but, we must believe we can heading into every match.”