Celtic-Hearts cup final means weekend off for Raith Rovers
That’s a mixed blessing according to the Kirkcaldy team’s assistant boss, Paul Smith, as though it will give some of his players time to recover from injuries, it might knock others already firing on all cylinders out of their stride, he fears.
Raith, last in action last Friday for a goalless draw away to Ayr United, will also be away next, to Alloa Athletic.
Smith told our sister paper the Fife Free Press: “It breaks up the rhythm and we'd rather have been playing, but now we look forward to the game against Alloa on Boxing Day.
"Hopefully, we’ll get one or two back in the coming weeks from injury. Iain Davidson, Lewis Vaughan, Dave McKay and Jack Smith are all out injured.
"We hope to have three out of those four back soon, but they will probably still be out till January just when we start hitting a busy period of Saturday and midweek games.
"Lewis has had setback after setback. Hopefully, that's it this time after his rehab. If we can get him back in January, it will be like a massive new signing for us.
"We had that free weekend a while back and the boys got a wee break so they could come back refreshed.
"Hopefully, we can do that again and give them a wee break and start building up to the Alloa game, which is a massive one for us.”
Smith is expecting a tough match when they return to action on Boxing Day.
"Alloa beat Hearts two weeks ago. That tells you everything. They beat the league favourites at home,” he said.
"It's a wee bit away just now and we've time to work on things and we are looking forward to it.”
Sunday’s cup final, taking place at Glasgow’s Hampden Park, kicks off at 2.15pm.