Raith Rovers F.C.

Raith Rovers Football Club is a Scottish professional football club based in the town of Kirkcaldy, Fife. The club was founded in 1883 and currently competes in the Scottish Championship as a member of the Scottish Professional Football League.

Raith Rovers
Raith Rovers Logo.png
Full nameRaith Rovers Football Club
Nickname(s)The Rovers
Founded1883; 138 years ago (1883)
GroundStark's Park, Kirkcaldy
ChairmanJohn Sim
ManagerJohn McGlynn
LeagueScottish Championship
2020–21Scottish Championship, 3rd of 10
WebsiteClub website
Current season

The club's highest ever league position came in 1922, when it finished third behind champions Celtic and runners-up Rangers in Division One. The club has won two national trophies, the Scottish League Cup in 1994 by defeating Celtic after a penalty shoot-out and on 6 April 2014, Rovers won the 2013–14 Scottish Challenge Cup after beating Rangers 1–0 with a late goal from John Baird in extra time. The club were also runners-up in the 1949 League Cup Final as well as being losing finalists in the 1913 Scottish Cup Final. Below the top flight of Scottish football the club has won the second tier five times, finishing runners-up on the same number of occasions, the last coming in 2010–11 behind rivals Dunfermline Athletic.

As a result of winning the League Cup in 1994, Raith Rovers qualified for the UEFA Cup the following season. The club managed to reach the second round, only to be defeated 4–1 on aggregate by eventual champions Bayern Munich.

Raith's home ground is Stark's Park, an 8,867 all-seater stadium in the south of Kirkcaldy.[1] The club has been based at the ground since 1891.


Beginnings and nameEdit

Stark's Park, home of Raith Rovers

The modern Raith Rovers were founded in 1883 in the Scottish town of Kirkcaldy, playing at Robbie's Park. Though there were other teams who incorporated the town name, such as Kirkcaldy Wanderers and Kirkcaldy United, Raith became the most successful of the local teams, winning five trophies in the 1890s.[2] There had been a much earlier (and unrelated) Raith Rovers which merged with what is now Cowdenbeath in 1882.

Although it lends its name to many entities in the region, Raith is not itself a settlement. A Raith Rovers victory in the 1960s led to a BBC commentator's blunder that the fans would be "dancing in the streets of Raith tonight". Although commonly attributed to David Coleman, it was actually said by Sam Leitch.[3] Raith (Scottish Gaelic: rath, "fort" or "fortified residence") as an area once stretched from south of Loch Gelly as far as Kirkcaldy[4] and the Battle of Raith was once theorised to have been fought here in 596 AD.[2] Raith House and Raith Tower sit on Cormie Hill to the west of Kirkcaldy and several parts of the town are built on land formerly of the Raith Estate,[5] although the modern housing estate bearing the Raith name dates from long after the origins of the team.

A mixture of local success and ambition took the club into the senior leagues where they established themselves and thereby became the pre-eminent team in the town. The club became a senior team in 1889 around the same time they were forced to leave Robbie's Park which was incorporated into a new public park called the Beveridge Park, named after Provost Michael Beveridge.[2][3] The team subsequently moved to their current home of Stark's Park named after and run by councillor Robert Stark in 1891.[3] The club turned professional by 1892 and were the first football team in Fife to be elected to the Scottish League in season 1902–03.[2][3] The club were incorporated into a limited company: the Raith Rovers Football and Athletic Company, Ltd in 1907. After two consecutive successful seasons in 2nd Division, the club elected to join the 1st Division in 1909–10. Three years later, the club made their first (and only) appearance in the Scottish Cup Final, losing 2–0 to Falkirk.

Setting recordsEdit

In 1921 an innovation in training, previously unknown to the Scottish game, was introduced by directors following a visit to England: the use of a ball in training. As noted in the Fife Free Press, "Hitherto, ball practice has been an absentee from the training curriculum on the grounds that being away from the ball for a week imparted eagerness on the Saturday." This heralded an era of success.[6]

The club had its highest ever league finish in the Scottish top division, when they came third to the Old Firm in 1921–22 under manager James Logan[7][self-published source?] (a former Raith player who had fought in World War I having enlisted in McCrae's Battalion, along with several teammates who died in the conflict).[8] This was followed by the unusual incident where the players were shipwrecked in 1923.[9] Along with a cargo of chilled meat bound for Buenos Aires the team had been en route to play friendly matches on the Canary Islands when the SS Highland Lock ran aground off the coast of Galicia, near Vilagarcía. The players were able to safely disembark, being rescued by local fishermen. They continued on their way a few days later,[3] winning all four of their games on the islands, including one against Third Lanark, returning from a tour of South America.[9]

The team battled on during tough times between the 1920s and 1930s but things improved by the season of 1937–38, which saw Raith setting a British League Record with 142 goals in just 34 league matches while winning the 2nd Division championship.[3] The record still stands today. The forward line of Glen (5 goals), Gilmour (35), Norrie Haywood (47), Whitelaw (26) and Joyner (21) scored 134 of the record 142 goals.

Around this time, a then record crowd of 25,500 filled Stark's Park on a Wednesday afternoon for a Scottish Cup quarter-final replay against East Fife (The first game had attracted 19,000 to the old Bayview ground). East Fife won 3–2 and went on to become the only 2nd Division club to win the Scottish Cup until Hibs matched the feat in 2016.

Record appearance holder Willie McNaught first appeared for Raith during the war before signing on a contract basis when normal football resumed after the end of global hostilities. McNaught went on to make 657 senior football appearances (many as captain) for Rovers. Raith reached the League Cup final for the first time in 1948–49 but lost 2–0 to Rangers. In an echo of what would happen four decades later, the club also went on to win the 2nd Division title. In the period of the club's greatest high level consistency, Rovers stayed in the top division until the season after McNaught's 1962 departure. In 1951, Raith had their largest ever gate for a Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park watched by a crowd of 84,640. Raith lost 3–2 to Celtic.

Promotions, relegations and Footballer of the YearEdit

A disastrous season came in 1962–63, when the club finished bottom of the First Division conceding 118 goals in 34 games.[3] After leaving Queen of the South, George Farm became Raith manager in 1964.[10] Farm took Raith to promotion in 1966–67 before leaving for Fife rivals Dunfermline Athletic and was never able to repeat the formula when he returned in the season of 1971–72.[11] Raith managed to avoid relegation in 1967–68, thanks to striker Gordon Wallace, who became the first player outwith the Old Firm to be voted SFWA Footballer of the Year. He scored 27 goals in 34 matches.[11] However the club did find themselves being relegated again at the end of the 1969–70 season.[11] Nonetheless, the Rovers during this time managed to get through to the quarter finals of the Scottish cup for the second year running between 1970–71 and 1971–72 – although the latter saw them beaten 3–1 by Kilmarnock with a crowd of 10,815.[11]

In 1975–76, the league set-up changed from Divisions 1 & 2 to a 3 tier system (Premier Division, Division 1 & Division 2). In the inaugural year of this system, Raith were promoted to the 1st Division, but were promptly relegated the next season, before bouncing back up the season after. Raith then performed reasonably well in the 1st Division, hovering around the top four until the early 1980s.

A new manager, Frank Connor took charge in early 1986, bringing many new faces onto the team which resulted in promotion on goal difference after a 4–1 win against Stranraer (while Ayr United lost to Stirling Albion) on the last day of the season.[11]

The League Cup winning eraEdit

Raith reverted to being a full-time side again for the season of 1991–92 which was soon followed by winning the First Division title in the season of 1992–93.[11] This was to start the most successful period in the club's history – which saw the team's first foray into the Scottish Premier Division (now the Premiership).[12]

On 27 November 1994, Raith, managed by Jimmy Nicholl, surprisingly beat Celtic 6–5 on penalties to win the Coca-Cola Cup, after a 2–2 draw.[2][3] Future Raith manager, Gordon Dalziel, scored the equalising goal for Raith in the dying minutes of regulation time. The same season, Raith were again promoted to the Premier Division after winning the First Division title.

As a result of the Cup win, Raith qualified for Europe (UEFA Cup) for the first time in their history. After eliminating both the Faroese and Icelandic champions (Gøtu Ítróttarfelag and Íþróttabandalag Akraness respectively) in the first two rounds, the club finally succumbed to eventual UEFA Cup winners Bayern Munich. They were beaten 2–0 by the German side in the 1st leg, which was not played at their home ground but at Easter Road, home of Hibernian. In the 2nd leg, at the Olympiastadion they led 1–0 at half time against all odds, eventually losing 2–1.[11] This was the first time a Scottish team had qualified for a major European competition while playing outside the top league. The same season, Raith finished sixth in the Premier League.

Winning the Coca-Cola Cup, selling Steve McAnespie and playing in the UEFA Cup generated the money needed to redevelop Stark's Park as an all-seater ground with North and South Stands. It was completed in time for the 1995–96 season, and Bayern Munich were invited to play a friendly in the first match in the redeveloped ground, with Raith securing a narrow 1–0 win.

The end of the fairytaleEdit

After the club were relegated from the Premier Division, they also struggled to succeed in the First Division. For the 2001–02 season they were relegated to the Second Division for the first time since 1987. The club returned to the First Division (with the lowest winning total, to date, for champions of 59 points), under the leadership of Antonio Calderón in 2002–03 season.

At the start of the 2004–05 season, Claude Anelka (brother of French striker Nicolas) offered £300,000 to any team who would offer him a manager's job and was subsequently appointed the manager of Raith Rovers, with Antonio Calderón refusing the offer of a coaching role and leaving the club. Anelka signed a team of (mostly) continental players from the lower leagues in France. A disastrous season followed, despite Anelka resigning halfway through the season (replaced by Gordon Dalziel) and his signings either leaving, or having their contracts terminated, and Raith were relegated to the Second Division after finishing bottom of the First Division with just 16 points in the season.

Local takeoverEdit

During 2005–06, the future of the club looked doubtful after the club and its traditional home of Stark's Park were both placed under threat by previous owners Colin McGowan and Alex Short. The Glasgow based property developers had repeatedly threatened to sell Stark's Park for housing in a bid to find a buyer for their 50% stake in the club and after months of legal and financial wrangling a deal was struck with their company, West City Development.

Former chairman Turnbull Hutton and director Mario Caira, who were part of West City retained their investment and were joined by major investor John Sim, a Thailand-based senior financial figure with liquidator KPMG.

The Reclaim the Rovers fans' campaign, which was launched in a bid to secure a local future for the club, also secured a place for a Supporters' Representative on the new-look board after raising £100,000 towards the final figure.

On 30 December 2005, Raith Rovers' future was secured after a £1.2 million community buy-out (The New Raith Rovers Limited consortium) (assisted by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown who later became Prime Minister, a fan and shareholder[13] of the club). Previous chairman David Sinton also completed work on the takeover.

On 2 May 2009, Raith secured the Second Division title with a 1–0 win at the home of Scottish football, Hampden Park, with a travelling support of over 1500. They lifted the trophy in front of almost 5000 the following week following a 0–0 draw with Arbroath.[14]

On 6 April 2014, Raith won the 2014 Scottish Challenge Cup Final 1–0 against Rangers after extra time.[15]

Colours and badgeEdit

Raith's kit consists of dark blue tops with light blue detailing, with white shorts and dark blue socks.[16] The away kit consists of a white shirt with red detailing with red shorts and socks.[16] Raith's current badge has been used since 1998,[17] replacing the previous lion and shield motif used in different colour combinations (including being framed in a shield shape from 1995 to 1998) since 1985.[17]


Fife rivalriesEdit

There are three other SPFL clubs in Fife: East Fife around 8 miles to the east, with Cowdenbeath and Dunfermline Athletic 9 and 14 miles respectively to the west. Raith's traditional derby is with East Fife though the biggest rivalry is against Dunfermline Athletic, with the encounter at East End Park in April 2011 attracting a crowd of over 11,000.

Supporters and cultureEdit

In addition to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, fans include authors Ian Rankin and Val McDermid and Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman.[18] In June 2011, McDermid joined the board of directors.[19] Former Scotland and Hearts manager Craig Levein was a supporter as a boy.[20]


The team is often mentioned in Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus novels, Rankin stating that Rebus is a supporter.[21] In Giles Foden's novel The Last King of Scotland the protagonist, Nicholas Garrigan, is a Raith Rovers fan.[22]


The Raith Rovers anthem is Geordie Munro, with its prominent mention of Kirkcaldy.[23][24]

Club staffEdit

Board of directorsEdit

Name[25] Role
John Sim Chairman
Steven MacDonald Vice Chairman
Bill Clark Director
David Sinton Club & Company Secretary
Karen Macartney Chief Executive
Tom Morgan Commercial Director
Andy Mill Supporters’ Director


Name[26] Role
John McGlynn Manager
Paul Smith Assistant Manager
Robbie Thomson Goalkeeping Coach
Katy Green Club Doctor
Stewart Duff Physio
Blair Doughty Head of Sports Science
Cameron Ross Head of Strength & Conditioning
Andy Tannahill Football Analyst
Simon Pollock Kit Man


Current squadEdit

As of 26 July 2021[27]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK   SCO Jamie MacDonald
2 DF   SCO Reghan Tumilty
3 DF   SCO Liam Dick
4 DF   ENG Frankie Musonda
5 DF   SCO Christophe Berra
6 DF   SCO Kyle Benedictus (captain)
7 MF   SCO Aidan Connolly
8 MF   SCO Ross Matthews
9 FW   SCO James Keatings
10 FW   SCO Lewis Vaughan
11 FW   CAN Dario Zanatta
12 DF   SCO Tom Lang
No. Pos. Nation Player
13 MF   SCO Brad Spencer
14 DF   SCO David McKay
15 MF   SCO Dylan Tait
17 GK   SCO Robbie Thomson
18 FW   IRL Ethon Varian (on loan from Stoke City)
21 FW   SCO Kai Fotheringham (on loan from Dundee United)
23 MF   ENG Blaise Riley-Snow
25 MF   SCO Aaron Arnott
26 FW   SCO Kieran Mitchell
28 GK   SCO Kyle Bow
29 DF   SCO Greig Young
99 FW   SVN Matej Poplatnik (on loan from Livingston)

On loanEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
19 FW   SCO Luke Mahady (at Cowdenbeath)
27 MF   SCO Quinn Coulson (at Cowdenbeath)

The League Cup winning teamEdit

Players from the team that lifted the 1994–95 Scottish League Cup include:

Also involved in the squad were Scott Thomson, Julian Broddle, David Sinclair, Ally Graham, Brian Potter, Jason Rowbotham and Ian Redford.


Managers of the club have included

  • 1945–1961: Bert Herdman – Oversaw some of the club's most successful seasons and a sustained period in the top flight.
  • 1964–1967 and 1971–1974: George Farm – In a career of distinction in both playing and managing, Farm included a promotion success with Raith among the numerous achievements he enjoyed throughout his career.
  • 1986–1990: Frank Connor – Took the club from depths of the Second Division to a solid First Division spot.
  • 1990–1996: Jimmy Nicholl – Manager (and player until 1994) who won two First Division titles, the historic League Cup victory and oversaw Rovers' only foray into European competition.

Rovers managers since World War II:


Minor honoursEdit

  • Fife Cup:[30]
    • Winners (35): 1891–92, 1893–94, 1897–98, 1898–99, 1905–06, 1908–09, 1914–15, 1920–21, 1921–22, 1922–23, 1924–25, 1929–30, 1947–48, 1950–51, 1955–56, 1956–57, 1961–62, 1966–67, 1967–68, 1968–69, 1971–72, 1975–76, 1980–81, 1986–87, 1989–90, 1990–91, 1992–93, 1993–94, 1994–95, 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2001–02, 2003–04, 2011–12
    • Shared: 1952–53, 1954–55, 1959–60, 1965–66
    • Runners-up (23): 1892–93, 1900–01, 1904–05, 1910–11, 1915–16, 1917–18, 1923–24, 1928–29, 1930–31, 1932–33, 1938–39, 1953–54, 1957–58, 1960–61, 1964–65, 1978–79, 1982–83, 1987–88, 1996–97, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2004–05, 2007–08
  • King Cup:[31]
    • Winners: 1890–91, 1898–99, 1900–01
  • Wemyss Cup:[32]
    • Winners: 1897–98, 1900–01, 1903–04, 1904–05, 1905–06, 1914–15, 1920–21, 1938–39
    • Shared: 1937–38
  • Stark Cup:[33]
    • Winners: 1908–09, 1911–12
    • Shared: 1909–10, 1910–11
  • Penman Cup:[34]
    • Winners: 1905–06, 1908–09, 1911–12, 1922–23, 1923–24, 1936–37, 1947–48, 1958–59
    • Runners-up: 1926–27, 1957–58

Club recordsEdit

  • Record attendance: 31,306 vs Hearts, 7 February 1953[3]
  • Record victory: 10–1 vs Coldstream, Scottish Cup, 1954
  • Record defeat: 2–11 vs Morton, Division 2, 1936
  • League goalscoring record: Norrie Heywood 1937/38, 42 goals
  • Most league goals (individual): Gordon Dalziel, 154 (1987–1994)
  • Most goals in a league season (team): 142, 1937–38 (British Record)
  • Most capped player: David Morris, 6 caps for Scotland
  • Highest transfer fee paid: £225,000 for Paul Harvey (from Airdrie, July 1996)
  • Highest transfer fee received: £900,000 for Steve McAnespie (to Bolton Wanderers, September 1995)

European recordEdit

Season Competition Round Opponent Home Away Aggregate
1995–96[35] UEFA Cup Preliminary round   4–0 2–2 6–2
First round   ÍA 3–1 0–1 3–2
Second round   Bayern Munich 0–2 1–2 1–4


  1. ^ a b "Raith Rovers Football Club". Scottish Professional Football League. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e Kirkcaldy Civic Society (2007). Kirkcaldy Remembered, 2nd edition. ISBN 978-1-84588-386-7.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Kirkcaldy Civic Society (2005). Kirkcaldy: A History and Celebration. The Francis Firth Collection. ISBN 1-84567-749-8.
  4. ^ Taylor, Simon; Gilbert Markus (2006). The Place-Names of Fife, Volume One. Shaun Tyas. p. 496. ISBN 1-900289-77-6.
  5. ^ Kirkcaldy's Famous Folk, Volume 3. Kirkcaldy Civic Society. 2000. p. 13.
  6. ^ Gray, Daniel (2010). Stramash. Edinburgh: Luath Press. pp. 109–110. ISBN 978-1-906817-66-4.
  7. ^ David Ross (2013). Gaffers. Lulu.com. p. 229. ISBN 9780743429917. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  8. ^ "Raith WW1 strip ensures 'Kirkcaldy never forgets'". Fife Today. 26 April 2014. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Raith Rovers Shipwreck and the Scottish Inquisition, Series 2, Time Travels - BBC Radio Scotland". BBC.
  10. ^ "QosFC: Legends - George Farm".
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Litster, John. Rovers Recalled: Raith Rovers in pictures through the years, Volume 1. John Litster. ISBN 0-9534682-1-6.
  12. ^ Fimister, Tony (2002). Raith Rovers Football Club 1991–92 – 1995–96. Tempus Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7524-2425-4.
  13. ^ "Ministers reveal their interests". BBC News. 12 March 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2009.
  14. ^ "Raith Rovers 0–0 Arbroath". BBC Sport. 9 May 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2009.
  15. ^ "Glory for Raith". Scotsman. 6 April 2014. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
  16. ^ a b "2017/18 Strips Launched - Raith Rovers FC". www.raithrovers.net.
  17. ^ a b Moor, Dave. "Raith Rovers". Historical Football Kits. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  18. ^ "Confident Raith consortium face new deal deadline". The Scotsman. 23 October 2005.
  19. ^ "Crime writer Val McDermid provides a plot twist at Raith Rovers". The Courier. 17 June 2011.
  20. ^ "No Headline Present". Herald Scotland.
  21. ^ Donaldson, Mark (11 April 2010). "Ian Rankin : Stretching the Imagination". The Active Nation Scottish Cup Semi-final Official Programme – Raith Rovers v Dundee United. Glasgow: The Scottish Football Association. pp. 34–5. Having gone to university in Edinburgh I didn't want Rebus to get in to that Hearts or Hibs thing that you tend to get involved in when in pubs in the capital. He's not from Edinburgh, he's from Fife, so I thought he may as well support a team that I know.
  22. ^ Foden, Giles (4 September 2008). The Last King of Scotland. Faber & Faber. ISBN 9780571246175 – via Google Books.
  23. ^ "Oh no, no, no... a new Geordie Munro!". www.fifetoday.co.uk.
  24. ^ "The New Geordie Munro | Raith Rovers FC". www.raithrovers.net.
  25. ^ "Meet the Directors - Raith Rovers FC". RRFC.
  26. ^ "Coaching & Backroom Staff - Raith Rovers FC". RRFC.
  27. ^ "Players". Raith Rovers F.C. 1 July 2020. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  28. ^ "Supplementary Cup". SFHA. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  29. ^ "List of Scottish Qualifying Cup Finals". RSSSF. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  30. ^ "Fife Cup". SFHA. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  31. ^ "King Cup". SFHA. Archived from the original on 30 December 2018. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  32. ^ "Wemyss Cup". SFHA. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  33. ^ "Stark Cup". SFHA. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  34. ^ "Penman Cup". SFHA. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  35. ^ UEFA Europa League 1995/96 – History – Raith. UEFA. uefa.com/

External linksEdit