Happy memories but a noisy reception at Raith Rovers for Falkirk boss Ray McKinnon

Ray McKinnon is heading back to Kirkcaldy. Picture: Michael Gillen.
Ray McKinnon is heading back to Kirkcaldy. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Ray McKinnon steered Raith Rovers to the SPFL Championship play-offs in his year at Stark’s Park.

But despite the success he enjoyed, he’s not expecting to be reminded of it on Saturday when he takes Falkirk back to Kirkcaldy on league business.

McKinnon spent a season with Raith. Picture: George McCluskie.

McKinnon spent a season with Raith. Picture: George McCluskie.

Despite his own good memories in the ‘Lang Toun’ he was met with a fierce reception from the home fans at last month’s Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cup match – and he anticipates similar this weekend.

MATCH STATS: Raith Rovers v Falkirk - preview

“I have nothing but good memories from my time at Stark’s Park but the reception wasn’t too great the last time! I don’t think they’ve forgiven me for leaving.

“We had a great season, 65 points in the Championship, the play-offs where we played Hibs and should have beaten them... we had built a right good team that could have gone up.

John McGlynn's triumphed last time out. Picture: Michael Gillen.

John McGlynn's triumphed last time out. Picture: Michael Gillen.

“But I left for Dundee United, and I understand the emotions and I don’t expect it to be any less noisy than it was the last time I went there.”

MATCH REPORT: Raith 2 Falkirk 0 - Tunnock’s Caramel Cup

Rovers prevailed in the challenge cup match where McKinnon made seven changes to his starting line-up.

This time he has Michael Tidser back in contention and David McMillan also in full training and a healthy squad to choose from.

Ray McKinnon. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Ray McKinnon. Picture: Michael Gillen.

McKinnon added: “ Raith Rovers’ squad has been together for at least a year and they’ve had good continuity and have a nice blend of experienced players and young talent. We expect a tough game, but all in this league are tough.

PLAYER PROFILE: Michael Tidser

“Michael is back in training and he’ll bring himself into contention for the weekend. David McMillan is in full training after his little issue when he joined, but he’s showing what he can do already. He’s getting stronger and we’re delighted with his progress. He’s scored goals at a very good level and given good service he’ll score more for us.”

Falkirk have the best defence in Britain but they won’t come up against one of the best strikers in League One on Saturday after news of Lewis Vaughan’s ruptured ACL injury was confirmed on Wednesday.

LEAGUE TABLE: SPFL League One

McKinnon worked with the striker during his time at Raith and said: “I know Lewis personally having worked with him and I’m devastated for him. He’s worked so hard to get back to fitness and he is a top, top football player and I expected he would go on to do really well in his career. I am devastated he’s done it again because he deserves better.”