Raith Rovers extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to ten following a sensational 3-0 win at Hamilton on Saturday.
John McGlynn’s in-form Rovers are now clear in second spot in the Championship, just three points adrift of title favourites Kilmarnock.
Courier Sport assesses the talking points as a feel-good factor sweeps through Stark’s Park.
Dare to dream of Scotland recognition
Ethan Ross and Dylan Tait should be on the radar of Scotland U21 boss Scot Gemmill.
Tait, 19, has already made 74 senior appearances, impressing sufficiently to earn a six-figure switch to Hibernian, from whom he is on loan until January.
His industry, maturity and consistency is remarkable for a teenager and he is already training with the Easter Road outfit on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Ross, meanwhile, has scored three goals in six appearances since rejoining Raith in October.
He is thriving in the ‘No.10’ role and has added efficiency in the final third to his previously mercurial moments of inspiration.
Ross has represented Scotland at U17, U18 and U19 level and, given Gemmill has shown a willingness to look to the Championship to select on-loan Dunfermline winger Kai Kennedy, he merits consideration.
Back to their best
The most impressive thing about Rovers’ recent unbeaten run? The fact that, for the most part, they have not been at their best.
Goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald was inspired in a 1-1 draw at Queen of the South.
Stalemates against Dunfermline and Inverness were attritional.
A late onslaught was survived in their home win against Ayr. A breathless 3-2 victory against Partick Thistle could have ended 5-5.
Just to name a few.
3️⃣ goals, 3️⃣ points, and the @RaithRovers run continues!
We weren't able to have our normal setup yesterday but we have still managed to put together videos from yesterday's match.
— RaithTV (@RaithTV) November 14, 2021
But this team will not be beaten. Raith have built upon the silky soccer of last season and added a cast-iron desire to avoid defeat.
However, Rovers were back to their best on Saturday.
They blew Accies away in the first half, with Ethon Varian ruffling feathers in attack, allowing the attacking midfield trio of Ross, Dario Zanatta and Aidan Connolly to run riot.
This was the vintage Raith of last term — but with added steel.
Long-awaited clean sheet
That clean sheet in North Lanarkshire will be treasured by boss John McGlynn.
Even amid a fine unbeaten run, a sequence of nine matches without a shut-out is just the sort of statistic that eats away at the perfectionist coach.
So, for all Rovers were irresistible in the opening 45, their sensible, professional approach after the break was similarly laudable.
The full-backs held back, the midfield kept its shape and Tom Lang and Christophe Berra dealt capably with fleeting moments of Accies adventure.
In the context of blowing a 4-0 lead to draw 4-4 against the same side on the opening day of the Championship season, that ‘nil’ beside Hamilton’s name was sweet for Raith.
Raith Rovers have only lost on the road once in seven Championship away days.
Four of those fixtures have been wins, including a statement triumph against league leaders Kilmarnock.
For reference, Rovers won six away matches in the entirety of their regular league campaign last term.
Home or away, the Kirkcaldy club have nothing to fear. This is a bona fide title challenge.