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3 things we learned from Kelty Hearts v Raith Rovers, including update after Nathan Austin taken off and Ian Murray trialist verdict

Kelty and Raith faced off in a preseason friendly.
Kelty and Raith faced off in a preseason friendly.

Kelty Hearts completed their preseason fixtures with a 1-1 draw with Raith Rovers at New Central Park.

Raith still have one warm-up fixture to play, versus Alloa Athletic, with their Premier Sports Cup campaign kicking off slightly later.

For the home side it was one last runout before the competitive action starts against Inverness next weekend.

Raith took the lead in the first half when Jamie Gullan tapped in following a knock-down from a corner.

Alfredo Agyeman equalised in the second half after a great first touch and cool finish.

Alfredo Agyeman equalised for Kelty Hearts.

Thomas Reilly later had the ball in the net with an equally good finish but it was ruled out for offside.

Here are a few of the takeaways from the match.

Versatile new signings

The biggest talking point when the teams were announced was the inclusion of Scott Brown in central defence.

The Kirkcaldy side are short of bodies in the position but Brown showed his ability to slot into defence, something he has done a few times before in the past.

At the other end new signing Lewis Martin completed his hattrick of defensive positions, starting the game at left-back.

As a trialist he played both right-back and centre-half versus Partick Thistle and in central defence versus Glenrothes.

Even in this match he was forced to switch to right-back before half-time, a reshuffle caused by Nathan Austin coming off.

On came the only non-trialist on the bench, Reis Peggie. He went to left-back, meaning Martin moved to the right and Robbie McNab to midfield.

Kallum Higginbotham went up front, with Jamie Barjonas taking his place on the left.

Austin update

With under ten minutes to go before the break the striker sat on the floor as Raith were passing the ball out from the back. After some treatment he was replaced.

Post-match, his manager John Potter said: “He’s hopefully ok, he just landed on his foot from a jump. It was more precautionary than anything else.

“The squad is really small, so we took him off as a precaution.”

Potter said the same about Thomas O’Ware, who was taken off in the second half, not long after calling on the physio.

“We just can’t take chances with anyone,” added Potter. “If anyone feels anything, they just need to tell me and we’ll make that change.”

Kelty Hearts striker Nathan Austin.

The change did give more balance to Kelty and after starting the second half the better side they were eventually rewarded through fantastic from Alfredo Agyeman.

Raith strike partnership

Raith boss Ian Murray switched up his formation, going with a strike duo of Gullan and trialist Kareem Isiaka in a 4-4-2.

With so many tweaks to the side in terms of personnel it was difficult to take too much from their set-up.

Gullan did grab another goal, a poacher’s finish following a corner, and later came close with a rasping long-range strike.

His partner Isiaka – a free agent since leaving Víkingur Ólafsvík in Iceland – also came close, showing great strength to hold off Fraser Forster before firing just wide.

“He got tired in the second half, which is to be expected from players that have played or trained for a while,” said Murray. “I thought he did ok.

“It’s very difficult for trialists to come into a team when they don’t know people and how we play. It’s also hard for our players to play with trialists.

“We’ll assess that tonight and see where we go.”

Joe Cardle on playing through Kelty Hearts’ title run-in with injury as he reveals timeline of return

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