After making his first appearance since November in Saturday’s win over Linlithgow Rose, Ross Matthews was handed a starting berth on Tuesday night at Links Park.
In what was his first start for Raith Rovers since April last year, the 27-year-old captained the side to a 3-1 victory, completing the 90 minutes.
Not only that, he looked every inch the “new signing” Ian Murray predicted he would be on his return – spraying passes around from the holding role and offering defensive protection.
“I thought he was excellent,” Rovers manager Ian Murray told Courier Sport, “I’m really happy with Ross. He’s got back, got through the little bit of pain in his foot.
“He was probably our man of the match, I thought he and Callum Smith were top quality.
“It’s brilliant to get him back. The intention was to bring him off at some point, but I thought he was playing so well and enjoying himself that we kept him on.”
First-half goals from Jamie Gullan, Lewis Vaughan and Dylan Easton came amid some excellent passing football from Rovers, as they ran out 3-1 winners.
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A change in formation from the hosts at half-time saw them reduce the deficit through substitute Rory McAllister and cause Rovers a number of problems.
“We’re going to lose the ball sometimes, playing that way,” added Murray.
“They changed their formation, which is a testament to our guys though for the first-half display.
“Montrose had to do something, they gave us a little more time on the ball, which is not always good for players.
“We could have scored a couple more goals in the second half. Fatigue kicked in from our second game in three days.”
The Rovers boss said work is continuing to bring players in but there is nothing immediate in the pipeline.
One summer signing that the fans have had a decent look at is Josh Mullin, who was involved heavily again before being replaced as a precaution before the break.
Murray hopes to have Jack Hamilton and Kieran Mitchell available this weekend, though Aidan Connolly, Scott Brown and Ethan Ross will again miss out through injury.
“We’re still working away [on new players],” said Murray.
“When you look at our squad tonight and then you add in the five we didn’t have available, if we add another two players – another two potential starters – to the team, we’re looking pretty strong.”