There remains a chance Raith Rovers will be promoted to the Premiership in the summer. They are one of four clubs within a three-point gap fighting for the playoff place, although Kilmarnock, Partick Thistle and Inverness are each more likely to get there.
Raith’s prospects would be better still if they had not made such a botched attempt to improve their options at striker last month. Instead of adding momentum, they sucked whatever enthusiasm the club had straight out of Kirkcaldy, losing sponsors, the women’s team, support staff and around £150k payoff to David Goodwillie.
Previously, football clubs, commentators and even the First Minister had blurred guidelines when it came to serious offenders in the game. Goodwillie was employed without fuss after two convictions for assault. A rape charge did not move the dial either (he is not alone in this respect). Oldco Rangers manager, Ally McCoist, bid to sign him seven times in the months after charges were dropped, before he left Dundee United for Blackburn Rovers.
In 2017, he was ruled by a judge in a civil case to have raped his victim. This was too much for then-employer, Plymouth Argyle, who kicked him out. He declared bankruptcy, which meant the compensation he was ordered to pay went unmet. Unable to gain employment in England, he found a landing place back in Scotland, at Clyde, with little fuss from our politicians, only the fans seemed interested, some of whom have never returned.
Author and Raith shirt sponsor, Val McDermid, two club directors and many of their non-salaried staff withdrew support when the club announced Goodwillie’s signature. These actions were a beacon for those on the lookout for a virtual signalling opportunity. Scottish football was soon getting advice on what had been going on without comment for five years, from those previously untroubled by exactly the same thing happening at Clyde. Opportunistic double standards are what we do best in Scotland.
Since the turn of the year Raith have drawn five, lost only to Premiership-bound Arbroath (sigh) and beaten only Junior club, Banks O’Dee, in the previous round of the Scottish Cup. They are a side on their knees who will be bereft of the fight we witnessed to such devastating effect in 1994. So the unthinkable cannot happen, right? Hmmm.