By Callum McFadden at Stark’s Park.
Raith Rovers assistant manager Colin Cameron praised the attitude of his players as the Scottish Championship outfit defeated Northern Irish Premiership side Cliftonville in the 3rd round of the SPFL Trust Trophy on a glorious afternoon of sunshine at Stark’s Park.
The first half became a midfield battle without too many clear-cut chances being created by either side.
Raith were restricted to efforts from outside the box from captain Scott Brown while Ben Wilson spurned Cliftonville’s best chance when he got in behind the Rovers defence only to fire his effort past the right-hand post.
That quickly changed in the second half when Cliftonville defender Odhran Casey shielded the ball out of play in his own box expecting a goal kick.
However, referee Grant Irvine awarded a corner kick which Raith Rovers took the lead from in the 50th minute. Adam Masson was the scorer after he finished from close range following a Lewis Vaughan cross.
The awarding of the corner and subsequent goal incensed Cliftonville manager Jim Magilton who was booked for his protests.
Lewis Vaughan then added a second goal for Raith Rovers with a curled effort from outside the box to beat David Odumosu with 68 minutes on the clock.
The home faithful did not have to wait much longer to see their side add a third goal as Jack Hamilton hit the back of the net with a header in the 74th minute to put the tie to bed.
The result means that Raith Rovers march into round 4 of the SPFL Trust trophy while Cliftonville now turn their attention to domestic football in the Irish League for the remainder of the season.
WFi player of the match: Lewis Vaughan (Raith Rovers)
Raith Rovers: Thomson (Dabrowski 31), Dick, Millen (McGill 57), Murray, Gullan (Smith 57), Vaughan, Hamilton (Connolly 82 ), Brown, Byrne, Easton (Ross 82), Masson.
Cliftonville: Odumosu, Lowe (Pepper 69), Addis, Casey, Turner, McGuinness (Jordan 69), Gallagher (Kearney 86), Doherty (Curran 70), Hale, Ashford (Berry 54), Wilson.
Colin Cameron (Raith Rovers assistant manager):
“It was nice to test ourselves against a strong team from another country.
Despite that, it was important that we played our normal game.
I felt that we did that today, particularly in the second half, and got our rewards as a result of that with three well-taken goals.”
Jim Magilton (Cliftonville manager):
“We’ve played well and been competitive in all of our league games so far this season.
In the two cup games [including today], we have not been as competitive as we would like.
I thought that we played well in the first half and created the two best opportunities before halftime. However, we were sloppy at times in the second half and Raith Rovers took advantage. They deserved the victory in the end.
We face Crusaders away from home in a local derby next and we now look forward to that game.”