RAITH ROVERS claimed a Viaplay Cup bonus point at Rugby Park, but a draw still leaves Kilmarnock favourites to win Group F.

Goals from Dylan Easton and Liam Dick either side of Innes Cameron’s opener put the Kirkcaldy side on course for a statement victory over their top-flight opponents, but Stuart Findlay struck late on to seize a draw. As is now league cup custom, we went to penalties to decide a bonus point, with Danny Armstrong and Cameron both having spot-kicks saved by Kevin Dabrowski to keep Raith’s hopes of progression alive.

Killie can still win the section by defeating Albion Rovers on Saturday, while Raith can oust Dunfermline from going through by beating Annan Athletic on Saturday. Here are four talking points from Rugby Park.

Killie disappointing

Maybe they sensed the Rugby Park crowd growing tetchy and restless, but it took until the closing stages of an almost entirely uneventful first-half to come to lift at all. Cameron had been a willing runner for 40 minutes without really receiving any effective service, his only sniff at goal being a run in behind which was halted by John Beaton pulling back for a previous foul, much to the striker’s frustration.

His patience paid off, and with the first dangerous ball into the Raith box, he got there first and fired a volley beyond Kevin Dabrowski before the keeper even realised what was happening. Their tails up, Killie found Cameron again, this time down the right channel and he weaved a path inside to unleash a shot that was this time saved by Dabrowski.

After a bright end to the first-half, the home side failed to emerge for the second period with any real purpose and were made to pay quite ruthlessly in the form of two Raith goals. It took going behind to jolt them back to some state of urgency, and they found their equaliser at the end of a good, old fashioned penalty box stramash, the end result being Findlay’s first goal since returning to the club.

Vassell a big miss

The usual pre-season caveats apply, and these Viaplay Cup games coming so early can create an illusion that this is already full-tilt football when players are still finding a rhythm. Killie certainly had that feel about them, with plenty of side-to-side passing and not an awful lot of incision through Raith’s well-organised rearguard. Liam Polworth was tasked with advancing the home side from deep but he so often found a compact row of yellow jerseys in his way.

Killie do, undoubtedly, miss Kyle Vassell. The striker missed out with an ‘irritation in his thigh’, according to McInnes pre-match, and therefore wasn’t risked. The newly-appointed captain adds an extra dimension to Killie’s attack, one that found goals hard to come by last season. His importance to the team was again underlined here.

Raith well-drilled

Before Killie opened the scoring, Raith had little of the possession but most of the admittedly few, and more of the ‘half’ variety, chances. With willing runners on the break, there was always a sense they could cause their Premiership opponents some strife if their timing and execution was right.

It took a timely block from Stuart Findlay to keep a Lewis Vaughan from hitting the target, and Will Dennis was called into action to deny Callum Smith an equaliser shortly after Cameron broke the deadlock. Those were both warnings for the home side as they re-emerged for the second-half, warnings they did not heed.

Raith did not allow Killie to touch the ball from the restart until after Easton had swept first time across Dennis and into the far corner from inside the area. It was hard to argue against it being a deserved equaliser, despite how little of the ball Raith had seen before then.

They had been tactically near-flawless pre-Killie goal, and might just have felt their luck wasn’t in given the home side scored with their first clear-cut chance of the match. It didn’t deter them, though, levelling via Easton and then taking the lead after Dennis could only parry a shot into the path of Dick, who kept his cool to control and smash high into the net.

Raith’s commemorative kit

So used to seeing them in dark blue, it may just have surprised a few in attendance to see the Kirkcaldy side emerge in a bright yellow kit. Released earlier this month, the changed strip is a commemoration of one of Scottish football’s oft-forgotten but fascinating tales.

In 1923, Raith became the only senior team in history to become shipwrecked when their tour of the Canary Islands took an unexpected turn, their ship hitting rocks and forcing every on board to abandon. The new kit commemorates a hundred years since the event, and has apparently went down a storm in the Canary Islands. How unbefitting then, that it got its first run-out on a distinctly un-Mediterranean evening in the pouring Ayshire rain.