Bairns depart but Pressley looks forward to Airdrie

Andy Haworth, seen in action against Rangers in August, has now left Falkirk.
Andy Haworth, seen in action against Rangers in August, has now left Falkirk.
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The departures have begun in earnest at Falkirk.

Just 24 hours after last week’s edition of The Falkirk Herald revealed players would be sold in January, one moved on – and was followed out the exit door by a member of the club’s backroom staff.

Tom O’Neill – Steven Pressley’s chief scout - left as part of a cost-cutting exercise on Friday, and Andy Haworth also moved on having failed to meet the manager’s expectations.

The club’s board of directors implemented the cutbacks at last week’s board meeting and, though the likes of Thomas Grant can replace Haworth’s departure, the chief scout void will be filled by Pressley and his team multi-tasking.

“It’s just another task for me and my staff and we understand that,” the Bairns boss said.

“I am really disappointed, I hold Tom O’Neill in the highest regard and he was doing a terrific job as I’ve found in my time here, but in terms of survival for this club and making sure the players get their salaries each month, there are unfortunate decisions to be made.

“By the recent perofrmances and results there may not need to be too many players recruited by this football club in the next few years because there’s such an emphasis put on our young players.

“When I had the chance to bring in a chief scout I moved for Tom, he was top of my list but it is all part of cost-cutting.”

The saving made on Andy Haworth’s wage though, is negligible.

The forward negotiated a release, after weeks of talks, on the same day O’Neill left the club.

“It’s a little bit of money saving but also because I think its important to maintain the chemistry in the group and if there’s a player not committed the answer is, move on,” added Pressley.

“I’m desperate to drive on and I need players with the right mentality, and I felt Andy commitment wasn’t quite what we hoped.”

Meanwhile, Falkirk will look to make it three wins in succession when they travel to Airdrie on Saturday.

Last time the two teams met, the Diamonds left Westfield with a point - despite many observers feeling it was a game that the Bairns really should have won, given the number of chances they created.

But Pressley’s young side have now won two games in succession, and further victories are required if they are to begin to climb the league table.

Jay Fulton and Jonathan Flynn are both rated doubts for the game at New Broomfield, and the returning Sean Higgins is still lacking match fitness.

Pressley had hoped Higgins would be able to play in an under-20s match against St Mirren on Tuesday night, only for the game to be called off due to a frozen pitch.

David Weatherston has returned to training but is unlikely to play on Saturday.