Raith Rovers boss McGlynn looks to shore up his defence for next season

As Raith Rovers get ready for a third season in League One, manager John McGlynn pinpointed a leaky defence as the main reason.

Raith Rovers Manager John McGlynn (All pics: Fife Photo Agency)
Raith Rovers Manager John McGlynn (All pics: Fife Photo Agency)

Although Rovers finished the season as the division’s top scorers, their goals against column was the second worst and McGlynn admits his side didn’t do enough to win promotion.

“It’s disappointing that we came up a little bit short with regard to the play-offs,” he said, “unfortunately, over the season based on the 36-game league campaign, we let ourselves down in certain games.

“That meant the margin between ourselves and Arbroath was too great for us to ever get it back.

Kevin Nisbet slots home a penalty on his way to become the club's top scorer

“It was an ongoing issue throughout the campaign where we never got a really good run of wins consecutively, which is what you need to do to win the league.

“There were a lot of positives; we were the top goalscorers in the league and it was great to have Kevin Nisbet being the top goalscorer in the league.

“I thought we played a good brand of football. It was a good passing game, and entertaining. It was pleasing on the eye football, but the crux of the matter is that we didn’t get to the Championship.”

And McGlynn was in no doubt where the main problem lay.

Liam Buchanan is one of four players released by John McGlynn this week

“We lost too many goals,” he said. “I think every manager is in the same boat. You can look back and say we lost a cheap goal here, a cheap goal there.

“But we’ve shown over the two games against Forfar and then Saturday against Queens that we can defend well and be in a situation where we don’t lose too many goals, and that has to be the way we move forward.

“We want to be scoring goals at one end and get that goals against column down by the whole team defending better.”

McGlynn is about to take a holiday but has already started work on next season’s squad, though it has thrown up some difficulties.

“It’s been a wee bit awkward because we are two weeks behind other teams and players, within a day or two of the last match, took off on holiday without giving us a chance to speak to them,” he said.

“I would rather speak to the players individually and in the best case situation, face-to-face, but I’ve not always been able to do it.

“So that’s why we phoned Chris Duggan on Sunday before he went off on holiday on Monday to tell him we wouldn’t be renewing his contract. Added to that, Nat Wedderburn, Liam Buchanan and Nathan Flanagan fall into that category.

“There is still negotiating to be done. We have 12 players who were contracted to be here next year as well, but right now we don’t know which of them will be here.

“We’ll need to bring in strikers, having lost a couple, so that’s our priority, but it’s not going to be easy.

“We have the nucleus of the squad there but we need to add to it and we’ll being going down the hybrid route, with a mix of full-time and part-time players.”

With a failure to gain promotion, McGlynn has inevitably come under criticism from some of the Stark’s Park faithful. But says he has no doubts that he is the man to take the club forward.

“I spend every minute of every day trying to do the best that I can for the club. That’s all you can do and that’s what I’ve done.

“You came to Stark’s Park this season and you saw goals galore; you would have seen entertaining football.

“Like any league campaign, next season won’t be easy, especially with Falkirk coming down. They will be favourites, no doubt about it, but there are no guarantees.

“Anything is possible.”