Stark's reality as Raith fall to their player of the year
15 Apr 1996
Raith Rovers l Hearts 3.
IT was ironic to see Hearts' latest #400,000 signing walking away from Stark's Park clutching a player of the year award from Raith Rovers - but that was the scenario played out by Colin Cameron at the weekend when he returned to haunt his former team.
Cameron scored the opening goal for Hearts, after having missed an earlier and easier chance in the first half, and admitted afterwards: ``I expected Raith to fight back more than they did.
It was always a kind of trademark of the team that they would battle when they went behind at Stark's Park and that didn't happen.
``Maybe it was the timing of the goals which upset them.
I got my one just before half time, and then Neil Pointon scored the second a couple of minutes after the interval.
'' Raith only began a comeback attempt when it was too late, and Gary Mackay had added a third goal for the Edinburgh side.
Raith managed to score from a Danny Lennon penalty but never looked as if they would seriously worry Hearts.
Manager Jimmy Thomson recognised that, and was not afraid to say so later.
``That kind of display just won't do here,'' said the Raith man.
``If players think they can just swan along for the last few games because the know the are staying in the premier division, then they will find out otherwise.
``I haven't said anything to them so far, but they will be told on Monday morning when they come in for training.
We did not look like getting anything from the game, and we did not deserve anything.
``But Monday is the time for us all to sit down and talk this through, when everyone is a little bit calmer and tempers won't be too frayed'' Then a disconsolate Thomson added: ``The only good news we had today was that Shaun Dennis agreed a two-year extention to his present contract which still had a year to run.
'' The good news all went in Hearts' direction.
Another victory, their third inside a week, and another milestone win, at that, for now the Tynecastle club seem sure to be in one of the European competitions after the other results.
That delighted Cameron who tasted continental competition with Raith only this season.
He said: ``The whole European experience was one of the reasons I joined Hearts, and now here we go again.
I only hope that we can be as successful as Rovers were.
``Winning two of the ties and then facing Bayern Munich - you can hardly get a bigger name - was marvellous for everyone at the club.
It is something for me to look forward to because, of course, I am not eligible for the cup final.
``That is disappointing but there are three more games in the league to play, and as the boss says, we want to finish in third place.
``Also I have this trophy from Raith as consolation.
I got it today because I was leading and no-one was going to be able to catch up.
It's a nice farewell gift.
'' Hearts, unlike Raith, can relax today.
They are a team in form and who appear to have the confidence which may yet carry them to a surprise Scottish Cup win.
Between now and the end of the season, manager Jim Jefferies will aim for that third place which he wants for the club - but he will also change the team around subtly as he tries to find a final blend.
Young Kevin Thomas will be brought in, for instance, and there are others like skipper Gary Locke who was injured for the game at Kirkcaldy, who will reappear.
Immediately after the semi-final win over Aberdeen, the Hearts manager insisted that he would demand that his players show him an appetite for the game which could push them towards a Hampden place.
He is getting that response from both young and old, and no-one is showing it more than veteran Gary Mackay.
This was his 600th game for the club and he marked it by setting up the first two goals and then helping himself to the third.
Yet Jefferies admitted that he had almost rested his 30-something midfield star for this one, ``It crossed my mind to give him a break,'' smiled Jefferies, ``but didn't and he repaid me with that display.
He still gives this club everything he has got.
Taken from the Herald