Raith Rovers had 'number of options' open to them to prevent midfielder Ryan Stevenson playing in goal, says SPFL

The Kirkcaldy club currently has no fit goalkeepers and turned to Stevenson as a last resort for Tuesday night’s game against Ayr United

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Raith Rovers had “a number of options open to them” to prevent midfielder Ryan Stevenson playing in goal during their defeat by Ayr United, according to the Scottish Professional Football League.

The Kirkcaldy club currently has no fit goalkeepers and turned to the 32-year-old as a last resort for Tuesday night’s game.

Goalkeeper Conor Brennan injured a foot in Saturday's defeat by Queen of the South and a deal to sign Celtic’s Logan Bailly on an emergency loan fell through late on Monday evening.

With Kevin Cuthbert and Aaron Lennox currently recovering from injuries sustained earlier this year, the club opted to play Stevenson in goal.

Rovers requested a postponement to address their goalkeeping crisis but the game went ahead regardless. In the wake of Tuesday’s defeat, the SPFL has said that the issue could have been solved.

"Raith Rovers had a number of options open to them once their only fit goalkeeper was injured," the governing body said.

"They could have brought in an under-21 goalkeeper, or an out-of-contract goalkeeper of any age, in each case without any permission from the SPFL board.

"They could also have sought permission from the SPFL board to bring in a goalkeeper of any age on an emergency basis.

"All of these options were explained to Raith Rovers, who chose to do none of these things and instead requested a postponement on the day of the match."

Rovers manager John Hughes hit back at the SPFL’s decision to reject their postponement request, saying the governing body should be “embarrassed”.

"It's just making a mockery of it, isn't it?" he said. "They need to have a right good look at themselves. I hope they're embarrassed.

"The guys that sit and vote and put their hand up for it to go ahead, half of them couldn't kick the blankets off the bed, never played football. That's the problem - they don't know what it's all about.

Ryan Stevenson during his time with Patrick Thistle (Getty)

"Maybe for the best of Scottish football, we'll take the hit, but this can't happen again in Scottish football.

"We've got four loans in, so we'd have to try to get someone to go back to their club before we could [sign a goalkeeper on loan].

"We'd be looking at someone who is under 21 for the loan and, if we'd brought in a young keeper, I don't think he'd have done any better than Ryan Stevenson.

"He had a great save in the first minute. He acquitted himself very, very well."