Why Hearts should be wary of the threat of John McGlynn's Raith Rovers

John McGlynn has Raith playing some excellent football. Picture: SNSJohn McGlynn has Raith playing some excellent football. Picture: SNS
John McGlynn has Raith playing some excellent football. Picture: SNS
Today’s opponents Raith Rovers are one of the best footballing sides in the Championship and perhaps in Scottish football.

That statement may raise eyebrows amongst the Hearts support due to the identity of their manager: John McGlynn.

His first, lengthy spell at Raith, plus a much shorter stint as the manager at Tynecastle was more solid and stuff rather than scintillating and sexy.

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McGlynn had a spell away from management between 2014 and 2018. Much of it was spent as a trusted scout at Celtic under Brendan Rodgers.

It is clear that the 59-year-old has been influenced by his time under the now Leicester City boss.

Raith have been one of the easiest teams on the eye in Scottish football. They have scored five goals in a third of their league games.

They are keen to play from the back and move it into the final third swiftly. They have a number of young, vibrant talents, adding to the likes of Daniel Armstrong, Dylan Tait and Ethan Ross with the loan signing of the precocious Kai Kennedy.

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They are packed with trickery, inventiveness and creativity.

It is led by Regan Hendry at the base of the midfield in a 4-1-4-1. The former Celtic midfielder is not too dissimilar to Andy Irving. He is trusted with possession and acts as the director, the metronome.

Hearts need to be aware of the attacking threat they pose. Give Hendry time to dictate and he will pick out the likes of Armstrong and Kennedy who can be devastating out wide.

Inverness CT boss John Robertson was gutted to lose the latter after spending the first-half of the campaign on loan in the Highlands from Rangers. He is a player who gets fans excited about football.

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However, they are equally capable of stinking out the place as enthralling viewers.

Queen of the South showed that they can be shut down easily, simply by putting pressure on Hendry and making sure he doesn’t get the time and space to work his magic.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Steven Naismith stick on him at all points when Rovers have the ball.

If not, we could be in for a very interesting game.