Club News

Blue Toon boss backs SPFL stance on keeper fiasco

Thu 02 Mar 2017

On the week the SPFL denied Raith Rovers a postponement over a much-publicised goalkeeping crisis, Jim McInally has backed the governing body's decision.

The Kirkcaldy club bizarrely fielded an outfield player between the sticks for Tuesday's game against Ayr, with their three registered goalkeepers all out injured.

Midfielder Ryan Stevenson pulled on the gloves after Raith tried and failed to get the Championship fixture postponed on the morning of the match.

Ayr edged the encounter although Stevenson, who once played in goal for the final five minutes for Partick against Hearts in 2015, acquitted himself well in the 1-0 result.

McInally, who spent a season at Raith during his playing career, was surprised his old club did not do more to avoid being left exposed.

The Peterhead manager said: "In this instance, I cannot really criticise the SPFL."

"Raith Rovers could have fielded a young goalkeeper but they felt they were better off playing an outfield player, who is pretty decent in goal anyway."

"That was the club's choice and, personally, I can live with the decision that was made."

The options available to Raith included signing a goalkeeper on an emergency loan, finding an out-of-contract shotstopper or bringing in an under 21 player.

McInally has admitted he could never foresee a scenario at Peterhead where a game would start without a recognised number one.

The Blue Toon boss added: "This is not a criticism of Raith but if we were in that situation, we would have gone out and brought in a goalkeeper."

"Even if it was an 18 year old or a 19 year old, we would have signed someone had we faced a crisis like that."

"Young keepers were available to Raith and they did not want to use one."

"They chose to go down the road of playing Ryan Stevenson in goal, although they wanted to have the game postponed."

Angry Raith manager John Hughes said the SPFL's decision made a "mockery" of the game.

By Glenn Moir