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[an error occurred while processing this directive] Friday, 29 September, 2000, 20:14 GMT 21:14 UK
Raith lose three to Livingston
Marvin Andrews has moved from Raith to Livingston
Marvin Andrews has moved from Raith to Livingston
By Sport Online's Clive Lindsay

Already shedding cash at a worrying rate, Raith Rovers have haemorrhaged three of their top players, but manager Peter Hetherston has vowed not to quit.

Marvin Andrews, Alex Burns and Steve Tosh have all moved to Livingston for an undisclosed sum.

It is the second time that owner Dominic Keane has used his financial muscle to produce a double-whammy of strengthening his own squad and weakening that of one Livingston's First Division promotion rivals.

Striker Scott Crabbe and winger David Hagen, both vital parts of cash-strapped Falkirk's side, switched to Almondvale during the summer.

Parted company

Raith's board have already admitted that their club are in dire financial straits and could turn part-time should they fail to win promotion this term.

The club's supporters and shareholders, plus any other interested parties, have now been urged to attend a meeting at Stark's Park on Monday to discuss the club's future.

Already, this week, Rovers parted company with their commercial manager, Lana Wood, the club claiming that working relationships had become strained.

Assistant manager Kenny Black said: "Peter Hetherston and myself are trying to build a side, but the bank is calling the shots.

Out of business

"The big challenge is getting a decent team out on the pitch and balancing the books."

Former Motherwell and Rangers man Alex Burns
Former Motherwell and Rangers man Alex Burns
In recent seasons, Falkirk and, most recently, Airdrieonians have been close to going out of business.

"I know the fans simply want to see a winning team and so do I, but I don't want us to go down the Airdrie road - I saw enough of that when I was there," said Black.

Hetherston told the club's official website: "I'm bitterly disappointed.

"I've lost my three best players and the heart's been ripped out of the team.

"I took them across to Livingston and it wasn't pleasant.

"The club really didn't have a choice and I think the bank had a lot to do with it."

Promotion hunt

Asked if he had considered his own position, Hetherston stressed: "Obviously we've spoken about it, but myself and Kenny aren't quitters."

Former Motherwell and Rangers man Alex Burns
Former Motherwell and Rangers man Alex Burns
Ironically, Raith pushed themselves back into the promotion hunt with a stunning 4-0 win away to Livingston a fortnight ago.

Now Livingston have got their own back by signing Trinidad and Tobago international defender Andrews and experienced midfielders Burns and Tosh.

Livingston manager Jim Leishman explained: "We have had three or four injuries in the past six or seven weeks and were struggling but did not say much about that.

"We have now set out our stall. This will add depth to our squad."

Livingston's large squad started off the season as strong favourites and already lead the division and, on Tuesday, reached the Challenge Cup final.

"We had a good result in midweek and are delighted with that and we feel that the new boys will strengthen the team even further," said Leishman, who has also loaned former Bolton Wanderers striker Gordon Smith to Second Division Stenhousemuir.

Junior ranks

Falkirk manager Alex Totten, whose team face Livingston on Saturday, said: "They have got their stadium and now they can afford to strengthen their squad.

"I wish it was me. But I have lost eight players in the last two seasons."

Falkirk had to delve into the junior ranks for their most recent signing, 19-year-old striker Steve Craig - the son of former Celtic favourite Joe Craig - who signed last week from Broxburn.

Raith recently were unable to meet the cash demands of former Dundee United, Nottingham Forest and Livingston midfielder Ray McKinnon, who is now training with Ayr United.

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See also:

27 Sep 00 |  Scotland
November cup final at Broadwood
16 Sep 00 |  Scot Div 1
Livingston 0-4 Raith Rovers
15 Sep 00 |  Raith Rovers
Rovers need bums on seats
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