There is little cause for optimism around Stark’s Park these days, with Raith Rovers now having lost their last four league games a sequence of results which has seen the Kirkcaldy club slip towards the edge of the relegation dogfight.
With manager Grant Murray under some significant public pressure from the club’s board of directors, there was, however, one glimmer of hope and that came in the form of 19-year-old winger Barrie McKay.
On loan from Rangers, McKay’s powerful running from midfield caused numerous problems for the Hibs defenders, his performance being capped by a stunning individual goal which gave his team an all too briefly held advantage towards the end of the first half.
Sadly for Rovers, McKay is due to return to his parent club net month but, based on his recent performances, Murray will no doubt be making every effort to persuade the Ibrox management to extend the loan deal until the end of the season.
McKay himself has no idea where he’ll be playing his football come January but, as he reflected on Saturday’s game, he seemed to indicate that he was perfectly happy to remain with the Fife club.
“I’ve enjoyed my time here but I don’t know as yet whether I’ll be staying here or going back to Rangers” he said, “but wherever I am, I’m happy as long as I’m playing on a regular basis,
“I thought we played really well today and the boys are all disappointed that we didn’t take anything from the game.
“We’ve been playing a lot better over the past few weeks but it doesn’t matter how well you’re playing if you’re not getting results so we really need to start piling up some victories.”
Rovers withstood some early Hibs pressure before McKay gave them the lead five minutes before the interval, latching on to a superbly weighted through ball from Christian Nade before running half the length of the pitch then driving a low shot past Mark Oxley.
The timeless maxim of a team being at its most vulnerable after scoring was exemplified when a lapse of concentration in the home defence allowed Hibs to equalise just before the break, Jason Cummings slotting the ball home from close range after Dominique Malonga’s initial shot had been blocked on the goal line by Dougie Hill.
Liam Fontaine headed the visitors in front from Scott Allan’s cross 12 minutes from time and Malonga secured the points three minutes later, the Congolese front man accepting a pass from Paul Hanlon before sending a low shot past Raith keeper David McGurn.
“The lads gave everything today” said Rovers boss Murray.
“I was delighted when we went in front but we switched off after the goal and you can’t do that against a quality team like Hibs.
“Our performances have improved lately we just need a win.”