Raith Rovers need positive approach for relegation scrap with Ayr Utd - John Hughes

Ayr United need to win by five goals at Stark's Park to avoid finishing last
The teams have a win apiece and a draw from this season's three previous meetings

Manager John Hughes is demanding a reaction from Raith Rovers against Ayr United as the Championship's bottom two meet at Stark's Park on Saturday.

Victory could lift Rovers out of the play-off place, while Ayr need to win by five to avoid automatic relegation and consign Hughes's side to the drop.

"Mentally, we are going to have to be so strong," Hughes told BBC Scotland.

"Let's make sure there is a positive vibe about the place and we go out all guns blazing."

Rovers missed the chance to ensure their safety last weekend when they were thumped 5-0 by St Mirren, with the Buddies leapfrogging them in the table.

St Mirren visit champions Hibernian on Saturday, knowing a point will be enough but defeat at Easter Road would see them fall back to ninth spot if there is a home success in Kirkcaldy.

"It was a cup final for us with what was at stake and that's what's so disappointing," said Hughes of the heavy loss in Paisley.

"But we've got a chance to put it right on Saturday.

"I'm not going to sugar coat it. These guys need to look each other in the eye, trust each other and go and do the business.

"I need to pick a team with character. It might not be the best players, but guys that care.

"Use any tool or trigger you've got to put in a man-of-the-match performance.

"If you're going to be full of false bravado and thinking 'uh-oh, this is going to affect me', then don't bother putting on the strip."

John Hughes
Hughes took the Rovers job in February on a deal until the end of the season

'Nothing in football is impossible'

Ayr boss Ian McCall admits his side have a tough assignment in Fife.

The Honest Men have won just seven of their 35 league games, with the biggest margin a 3-0 victory at Dumbarton, while they scored four in a remarkable draw with the same opponents.

"It'll be very difficult, there's no doubt about that," said McCall.

"It's not impossible. Nothing in football's impossible and we'll give it a go. The fact Raith Rovers have still got a lot to play for makes it a difficult game.

"It's over the whole season rather than one game. We should've picked up more points than we did and that's why we're in the situation we are.

"[St Mirren] spent a lot of money and brought in a lot of players [in January]. For the last four or five months they've been the best team in the league - them and Hibs. Some of the younger ones they've got have been ignited by the players that Jack Ross brought in and consequently they've won games.

"We've drawn far too many games. It's been a tough season.

"Ultimately, it comes down to me. Our players are good enough. We've got a number of players that can thrive at that level and we just haven't produced and, obviously, that's down to me.

"If the worst does come to the worst, we'll, I would imagine, be one of the favourites to go straight back up."

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