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3 Raith Rovers talking points as Dario Zanatta bamboozles backlines and John McGlynn awaits Brad Spencer injury verdict

Delight for Ross
Delight for Ross

Six games, four wins and two draws.

Throw in the marquee capture of Ethan Ross and Raith Rovers can toast an outstanding October.

Saturday’s hard-fought 2-1 victory over Ayr United brought the curtain down on a magnificent month, with Rovers remaining just four points off the summit of the Championship.

Here, Courier Sport analyses the talking points following another satisfying afternoon at Stark’s Park.

Rinse and repeat

We have gone from a fleeting sense of deja vu to full-scale Groundhog Day.

Dario Zanatta has found himself a trademark strike and, for all opponents know exactly what the Canadian flyer intends, they are helpless to stop it.

The dip of the shoulder; the cut inside from the left; the sumptuous curling finish into the far corner.

Even the SPFL’s official Twitter account joked that such a finish should renamed ‘the Zanatta’.

The former Hearts and Alloa forward has rippled the net eight times this season, just one shy of his best-ever total for a single term.

This is his breakout campaign and, at 24 years of age, Zanatta still has time to fulfil the raw potential many saw as he emerged through the ranks with the Jambos.

Getting back to that manner of goal, it is worth saluting Liam Dick.

For all the temptation is to cry ‘just don’t let Zanatta cut inside’, Dick’s constant, tireless overlaps sow the seed of doubt in the mind of defenders.

The very definition of an unsung hero.

Readying Ross

Ethan Ross’ first start since returning to Rovers came amid the hustle-bustle for a ferocious Fife derby in midweek.

The tempo was incessant and the conditions were woeful; a tough scenario in which Ross was asked to play the ‘No.10’ role.

On Saturday, however, the former Aberdeen kid was far more effective. He found pockets of space, surged forward and dragged bodies away from Zanatta.

Delight: Ross

His arrival has allowed Rovers to utilise more of a 4-2-3-1 formation rather than a 4-3-3, affording them an additional creative threat in fixtures they expect to dominate.

Most hearteningly of all, he found the net.

Ross’ glancing header to break the deadlock was delicate and precise, having intelligently manufactured a yard of space in a crowded box.

Knowing he will only get fitter and more effective is an exciting prospect for the Rovers faithful.

A waiting game

The only negative on Saturday was a hamstring injury sustained by Brad Spencer.

Withdrawn: Spencer

He was withdrawn moments after half-time, with McGlynn later noting: “We hope we’ve caught that early enough.”

The timeframe of his absence will become clear in the next 24 hours.

Without Spencer, Rovers failed to exert the same dominance, albeit fatigue following a blockbuster first 45 minutes and a derby in midweek could also be considered factors in that.

Nevertheless, there is no doubting Spencer’s importance to this Raith side.

Alongside Dylan Tait, they provide tenacity, turnovers and metronomic control of possession.

McGlynn will have his fingers crossed that Spencer is back sooner rather than later.

First look: Raith Rovers ‘community hub’ edges closer as Stark’s Park plans are submitted to Fife Council

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