Roth Raivers: Part 13 – Season 4 Reflection

Raith Rovers had just secured their position in the Scottish Premiership for a second season by “defying expectations” led by their increasingly reputable young English manager Robí di Lathamé.

The curtain came down on the 2022/23 campaign with a blow out night on the tiles in Kirkcaldy. di Lathamé couldn’t remember too much about the evening, but did have a vague memory of doing tequila shots with owner Robbie McGinn and the fans’ players of the season Ryan Cassidy and Jake Cain.

He was awoken early the next morning by a phone call from McGinn, who di Lathamé was surprised was awake before 10am. Annoyingly, the owner sounded very excitable, blurting out something about “future plans” and a “high-tech new vision for the club,” which the manager was a little too hungover to understand.

Instead, he agreed to a lunchtime meeting to dust off last night’s cobwebs, at which he was presented with the below blueprints. The Raith board had just announced plans to build the new 15,571 capacity Raith Stadium, which will be completed in July 2025. Worryingly, for a club with £5,000 in the bank balance, the stadium was costing £18.4 million using a loan of £17.75 million. However, the club’s eighth-place finish did earn £1.96 million, which would go some way to explaining McGinn’s exuberance.

The duo sat down over a delicious club sandwich and a fizzing pint of Tennent’s to discuss the key performers and standout stats from di Lathamé’s fourth season in Scotland.

Raith key players

The key men this season were very much our strikers. Loanees Folarin Balogun scored 17 goals in 44 matches and Ryan Cassidy scored an impressive 16 in 32. 19-year-old Billy Doig also chipped in with 12 goals in 42, of which 20 appearances were off the bench.

Another loanee Jake Cain topped the assists chart with nine, followed by Glenn Middleton with seven and young midfielder Dylan Tait with six. One area we need to focus on in the summer is new wingers, as Middleton is moving to St. Mirren and right-winger Jordan Elliot only managed five assists and one goal from 39 appearances at an average rating of 6.61.

Cassidy was our top performer with a 7.20 rating followed by exciting young midfielder Enrico Donati on 7.17 from eight matches and Cain on 7.11 from 38 appearances. Arsenal centre-back Zach Medley also impressed with an average rating of 7.08 from 42 matches.

Award winners

Cassidy won the fans’ player of the season award with 41% of the vote, followed by Cain (29%) and Medley (19%), along with the young player of the season award. Doig won the goal of the season with a great strike against Dundee while young defender Ryan Ireland was named signing of the season.

Premiership team stats

Raith scored the eight most goals in the Scottish Premiership with 47. Celtic top-scored with 80 and Rangers notched 78, compared to Motherwell’s pathetic 26. We conceded the joint-fourth most of 57 along with Motherwell and Aberdeen, well behind relegated St. Mirren’s 75 and way off the mere 13 that Rangers allowed.

One area we excelled in was possession, racking up the third-best 52% behind only Celtic and Rangers. We also won the least headers in the league and had the lowest headers won ratio. Undermining that was our really poor discipline record, which saw us break the Scottish Premiership yellow cards record with 96 and make the most fouls with 646 – which was 100 more than any other team!

We won the least penalties in the league with just two, compared to Celtic’s 14 and Rangers’ 13, which sounds really fair…

Our achievements are enhanced by Raith having the lowest salary spend in the league at just £879,000 per annum. The only team that didn’t have at least double that was Livingston’s £1.43 million, then bottom of the league St. Mirren spent £2.18 million. By comparison, Celtic spent 49.7 times more than us with their annual salary of £43.7 million and champions Rangers spent £24.4 million.

Premiership player stats

Balogun was the joint-fifth top scorer in the Scottish Premiership with 12 goals, while Cassidy was joint-tenth top scorer with 11. However, Cassidy had the fourth-best goals per minute ratio, scoring every 176.18 minutes. Celtic’s Borja Mayoral – who earns three-times more than our entire weekly wage budget – was the top scorer with 25 goals, scored every 115 minutes and had the most shots and shots on target.

Young left-back Josh Reid had the second-best cross completion ratio in the league of 34%, getting three assists in the process. Medley won the most key headers, blocked the most shots and made the third-most interceptions. While goalkeeper Ross Munro was one of only three players in the league to play in all 38 matches, held the most saves, parried the third-most and made the most penalty saves with three out of five faced.

Worryingly though, five of our players ranked in the top ten most-booked players, with Cain racking up the most of 13 from just 30 matches.

A look around Europe

Away from the surprise of Celtic not winning the Scottish Premiership, the rest of Europe was pretty predictable. Man City won the Premier League again, Real Madrid won La Liga again, while Bayern and PSG also won their titles. The major surprise was Napoli winning Serie A for the first time since 1990 with Juventus down in fifth, while Benfica stopped Porto’s run of three consecutive titles.

Join us next time as we look to strengthen the Raith Rovers squad for a second season in the Scottish Premiership!

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