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3 Raith Rovers talking points after Celtic clash: Dario Zanatta dismissal, Blaise Riley-Snow’s contract and do Rovers need another striker?

Celtic saw off the Rovers
Celtic saw off the Rovers

Raith Rovers bowed out of the Premier Sports Cup against Celtic with their heads held high.

The comparative gulf in quality told as Jota, Liel Abada and David Turnbull rippled the net, with Rovers ending the game with 10 men following the dismissal of Dario Zanatta.

However, Raith didn’t wilt; didn’t throw in the towel.

It was a learning curve for the Fifers at Parkhead — and it produced ample talking points.

Dario dismissal

Dario Zanatta’s spell at Raith Rovers had been an unfettered success until he saw red against the Hoops.

He has scored five goals in 12 outings, matching his tally for his previous two seasons with Ayr United and Partick Thistle combined.

The former Hearts winger is looking fit, confident and clinical.

But Thursday was not his night.

His early attempts to take on Anthony Ralston were futile and he spent most of the night chasing the right-back down the flank, as was perhaps to be expected.

That exasperation appeared to boil over in the second period when he received two yellow cards in the space of eight minutes; both for unnecessary, niggling fouls.

Manager John McGlynn described Zanatta’s shirt-pull on Ralston which resulted in his second caution as ‘petty’.

The only silver lining is that Zanatta will not miss Sunday’s Championship clash with Thistle — the suspension only applies to next season’s Premier Sports Cup — and you can bet he’ll be driven to make amends at Stark’s Park.

Blaise of glory

Raith Rovers would do well to tie Blaise Riley-Snow down to a new deal.

McGlynn deserves immeasurable credit for spotting the potential of the towering Englishman — signed from Alicante City in the Spanish fifth tier — among the swathe of trialists he was pitched during the summer.

Understandably, Riley-Snow, an unknown quantity, was only given a deal until January.

But he is getting better with every passing game — stronger; more accustomed to the pace of Scottish football; increasingly assured making progressive passes.

Battling: Blaise Riley-Snow

He was particularly effective in the opening third of the fixture at Parkhead, winning possession on several occasions and tussling with David Turnbull.

Like the rest of the Rovers side, he drifted out of the game as Celtic’s class told — but this was an eye-catching outing nonetheless.

A striking dilemma

Ethon Varian was typically willing in attack and his physical battle with Cameron Carter-Vickers was thoroughly watchable.

Matej Poplatnik entered the fray in the second half and, while a couple of neat touches underlined his undoubted technical prowess, he passed up a decent chance to get a shot away inside the box in the second half.

Ethon Varian
Prospect: Varian

As such, a major talking point after the match was whether McGlynn would snap up another striker following James Keatings’ loan move to Montrose. ‘I’m trying,’ he confirmed.

However, if he fails to get a deal over the line, the Rovers boss is content with his options.

He would also have a wider market from which to choose in January.

There is no sense of panic.

Raith Rovers: John McGlynn reveals striker hope after James Keatings loan exit