SPFL should be 'embarrassed' after Raith forced to play midfielder in goal

Ryan Stevenson
Ryan Stevenson held out for more than an hour before losing a goal to Ayr

Raith Rovers boss John Hughes says the SPFL should be "embarrassed" by the decision that forced him to field midfielder Ryan Stevenson in goal.

Rovers had no fit goalkeepers for Tuesday's trip to Ayr United but had their request for a postponement rejected by the SPFL board.

Ayr won the game 1-0 and Hughes told BBC Scotland: "It's just making a mockery of it, isn't it?

"They need to have a right good look at themselves."

The Kirkcaldy club had gone without a goalkeeper on the bench for their previous three matches.

Conor Brennan picked up a foot problem in Saturday's loss to Queen of the South while Kevin Cuthbert and Aaron Lennox are recovering from injuries sustained earlier this year.

"I hope they're embarrassed," said Hughes of the decision to play Tuesday's fixture.

Conor Brennan replaces Kevin Cuthbert at Tannadice
Cuthbert was replaced by Brennan at Dundee United on 4 February

"The guys that sit and vote and put their hand up for it to go ahead, half of them couldn't kick the blankets off the bed, never played football. That's the problem, they don't know what it's all about.

"Maybe for the best of Scottish football, we'll take the hit, but this can't happen again in Scottish football.

"We've got four loans in so we'd have to try to get someone to go back to their club before we could do that (get another loan in).

"We'd be looking at someone who is under 21 for the loan and if we'd brought in a young keeper, I don't think he'd have done any better than Ryan Stevenson. He had a great save in the first minute. He acquitted himself very, very well."

The victory sent Ayr, who are second-bottom of the Championship, to within one point of eighth-placed Raith.

And while Ayr boss Ian McCall believed his side were on a "hiding to nothing" because of the "whole circus" surrounding the game, he felt it did not affect the outcome.

"It didn't really influence the game, he had no chance with the goal and he made a couple of good saves," McCall said after Farid El Alagui headed his side's winner.

'Strange experience'

El Alagui was denied by Stevenson before nodding the winner in the second half

Former Somerset Park midfielder Stevenson, 32, had some brief experience of goalkeeping, having played in the final five minutes of Partick Thistle's 4-0 defeat by Hearts in October 2015 after Ryan Scully was sent off and with the Jags having used all of their substitutes.

But he wants his stint in goals on Tuesday to be his last.

"It was a strange experience," said Stevenson, who revealed he was wearing gloves belonging to Dundee United keeper Cammy Bell.

"I didn't want to let the boys down and I suppose it's something I can tick off the bucket list.

"I think that's the gloves hung up now. I've got them in the bag and I'll get the shirt framed. It's not something you'd have thought you'd have to do in a professional game.

"Hopefully, it's something I'll not be repeating again."

BBC

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