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NOTHING Marvin Andrews achieves should surprise anyone considering his remarkable career.

But the big defender even surprised himself on Saturday by completing the full 90 minutes in his first football match of any kind in 11 months.

Andrews was back in the Raith Rovers line-up after spending the majority of the past year recuperating from knee surgery — yet it was as if the 33-year-old had never been away.

He put in a solid performance in the heart of the Rovers defence, helping the team to a clean sheet and a crucial derby victory over East Fife.

"I'm very, very happy just to be back playing, but to get a result against our rivals in my first game back — it can't be any better," said the devout Christian.

"It was my first competitive game in 11 months and it's thanks to the Lord, Jesus Christ. I can't thank God enough for giving me the strength to play after so long out.

"I haven't played any type of game whatsoever. I've just been training with the team, and doing wee five-a-side games and possession games.

"Unfortunately, Raith don't have a reserve team so I'm not match fit. I've just been going to the gym every day and doing all my exercises that the physio gave me.

"I was excited about returning but also worried because I had no idea how long I was going to last in such an intense game.It worked out well in the end."

It was suggested by some that Andrews would call time on his distinguished career after his operation, but he stressed that retirement has never entered his thoughts.

"I never doubted myself," he said. "I will not stop playing football until I am ready. My destiny is to achieve everything I can achieve in professional football.

"I've done a lot so far but I believe there is still loads for me to offer at this level, and even at the highest level back in my national team.

"That is what I'm heading to. At this moment I'm a way off because it was only my first game on Saturday and I still have work to do to get back to that standard."

Andrews looks to David Weir, currently at his former club Rangers and still playing international football despite approaching 40, as an example of what can be achieved.

"It just shows that if you take good care of yourself and still have that burning desire to play a game of football then nothing else matters," he said.

"There's nothing different between me and David Weir."

After agreeing a short-term deal to stay at Rovers until the end of the season, Andrews has set his sights on winning his first title as a Raith player.

"I've been at Raith for a long time but never won any silverware for the football club," he revealed. "I've always came in second or just missed out in play-offs.

"For it to be done this year, with 10 games left, would be a fantastic achievement and I'd be really happy to be part of that. The majority work has been done by the guys who have played since the start of the season.

"I'm only coming into the last 10 games. It's all down to the hard work that has put Raith Rovers in this position they are in."

The timing of Andrews' return could hardly have been better, with the Fife derby followed this Saturday by the potential title decider against Ayr. However, he insists that nothing will be decided on Saturday.

"No matter what happens on Saturday it's not the end-all," Andrews insisted.

"I've been in this position before with Rangers where we lost to Celtic with five games to go but still came back and won the league.

"We have 10 finals between now and the end of the season. It makes it exciting and you're looking forward to every Saturday and to every training session."

Andrews won the SPL title on the final day of the 2004-05 season with Rangers and he called on his current team mates to show the same belief as the Ibrox men.

"Believe in the talent you have and in what God has blessed you with," he advised. "Every player at this club is here because they have a talent. They can so something that other players can't.

"From a collective stand point, there's no reason why we can't pull it through.

"My message to the fans and all the players would be to enjoy being in this position because it could have been worse. You could be fighting relegation.

"There's no better position for a Raith fan or player to be in than knowing you are going for the championship. The greater the battle the sweeter the victory."