Arbroath's captivating story continues - 40-point marker reached after fine win at Raith

A month ago, when Arbroath moved to the summit of the cinch Championship, manager Dick Campbell said his only focus was reaching the 40-point mark, which would be enough to avoid relegation.

Nicky Low converts Arbroath's winner from the penalty spot.

We are now in mid-January and the Red Lichties are on 41 points and still sitting pretty at the top of the table after a 2-1 win at Raith Rovers.

The chapters keep coming in this increasingly captivating story up at Gayfield. This Arbroath team aren’t going away. The part-timers are genuine title contenders in a tight race.

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They lead Scotland’s second tier by four points, albeit nearest challengers Inverness and Kilmarnock have a game in hand. A play-off place should be the least of their ambitions now.

Jack Hamilton converts from close range to level for Arbroath against Raith Rovers.

You will find prettier teams in the division, but none appear quite as effective. Deployed in a 4-4-2 with two tall strikers in attack, it’s about getting the ball into the final third as fast as possible and going from there. They didn’t miss Joel Nouble much, the striker now back at Livingston after an excellent loan spell.

The stars of the show were Nicky Low, a tidy performer in midfield in his first start since September, and central defenders Thomas O’Brien and Ricky Little, who have played together for years and are getting better with age.

After defeat by Ayr last weekend, Arbroath also showed bouncebackability. "We were disappointed last week,” said assistant boss Ian Campbell, “but we played a game against St Johnstone the other night and we were magnificent with the way we went about our business. I wasn't the least bit surprised we gave Raith a good game.

"It's all starting to gel together again, but we'll take it one game at a time. It's a cliche, but it's a fact. It's an enjoyable place to be. Individually they are a lot better than people give them credit for."

Arbroath manager Dick Campbell is booked for complaining about the Raith Rovers goal.

Fourth-placed Rovers, now five without a win, took the lead on 43 minutes when Reghan Tumilty tapped home – Arbroath claimed for offside – but any grievance was used to good effect at the start of the second half when Jack Hamilton scored on 47 minutes.

Arbroath looked the likelier team to win thereafter and Low converted a penalty emphatically on 81 minutes to keep this riveting tale going strong.

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