Raith Rovers will ‘have to go up the hard way’ insists Tony Dingwall after Arbroath loss

Raith Rovers midfielder Tony Dingwall admitted their loss to Arbroath has all but confirmed the Red Lichties as League One champions and resigned Rovers to the promotion play-offs.

A first half goal from Colin Hamilton proved the difference between the sides as the leaders opened up a 16-point gap over the Kirkcaldy side at the top of the division.

“It was a must-win game today for us to have any chance of winning the league,” Dingwall said.

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“Now we’ve just got to look forward and win the next game and hopefully cement our place in the play-offs.

Dingwall vies for the ball with an Arbroath player

“We’re going to have to go up the hard way.”

Asked if he thought there was any chance that Rovers could still win the league, Dingwall responded: “You’ve got to have a bit of realism.

“It’s 16 points and still mathematically possible but we would need for them to have a massive collapse and for us to win every game between now and the end of the season.

“Looking forward, we have got to be real about it and go and win our next few games hopefully and cement our place in the play-offs, that’s all we can do, and hopefully finish the season as strong as we can.

“We need to make sure we’re in the play-offs first of all and then go into them full of confidence hopefully.”

It was a frustrating afternoon for John McGlynn’s side who struggled to break down the visitors and Dingwall praised Dick Campbell’s outfit for the way they achieved this.

“They came here looking for a point I think,” he said. “They obviously nicked a goal and just sat in the whole game.

“To be fair to them, their game-plan worked and we couldn’t break them down really as we didn’t create many chances, so all credit to them. They came here and did what they had to do.

“Every single team that comes here, I think they see it as their cup final and they lift their game. They’re coming here and it’s a better atmosphere and bigger crowd for them.

“We should be able to rise to the occasion as well and bury teams when we get our chances.

“Today we obviously didn’t create many chances and, as I say, it’s their cup final, but we’ve not been good enough.

“We will still believe all the way until the end of the season that we can get promoted. We need to dust ourselves down and go again as we’ve got a big game next week.”

The January transfer window arrival admitted that the team just haven’t been clinical enough in front of goal, despite typically creating more than enough chances.

“I feel the squad we’ve got here are more than capable but it’s just little things are letting us down,” he said.

“They had one maybe two shots on target and they scored. It was the same against Forfar last week. They had one shot at the end of the game and scored.

“The majority of games we are creating five, six, seven, eight opportunities but are not taking our chances to kill teams off.”