New Hibs midfielder Dylan Tait shines as Raith dust away cobwebs with win over Forfar
The past few weeks have been trying for Raith Rovers, given that their last home match was abandoned due to a power surge, their last away match was cancelled due to a Covid outbreak at Ayr United, their best attacker has ruptured his ACL yet again and then their midfield talisman was pinched on transfer deadline-day by Hibs.
So to get past Forfar Athletic in the second round of the SPFL Trust Trophy will have been welcomed by all at Stark's Park as they chalked up a 1-0 in Kirkcaldy.
The floodlights stayed on, there were no Covid casualties and while Lewis Vaughan rests up ahead of a fourth knee operation, Dylan Tait – in position until January after Hibs loaned him back – was central to all of Rovers’ attacks as they dusted away the cobwebs.
John McGlynn's men have not been on a pitch since Friday, August 24 when they played just 14 minutes of a Fife derby with Dunfermline before the stadium embarrassingly lost power. This was a good run-out against League One opposition. Rovers ought to have won the match by more given that they dominated proceedings, but poor finishing and good goalkeeping from Marc McCallum denied them more an emphatic scoreline.
Raith clearly miss Vaughan's pizzazz in the final third and while Ethon Varian and Matej Poplatnik are willing workers and move well, they don't have the same X-factor. There was a round of applause on ten minutes to support Vaughan, who is the darling of the Raith faithful.
So much of the talk this week has surrounded Tait, who has progressed rapidly at Rovers. The 19-year-old was sprightly, always looking to get on the ball and start off attacks. Some long diagonals didn’t come off but some neat slide-rules did. Hibs see a lot of potential in him and his vision fits the identity for their type of midfielder. Raith will be glad to have him for a few more months.
The only goal came on 25 minutes when Blaise Riley-Snow lashed home a rebound after Christophe Berra’s effort was saved by McCallum. Dario Zanatta and Kieran Mitchell wasted good chances in the second period, while a trio of McCallum fingertip saves kept the Loons in it until the final whistle. East Fife await in the next round.