Better Bairns still lack the killer touch

Falkirk played with a lot more soul, but they won't soldier on in the Scottish Cup.

There was a marked improvement in the performance showed against Partick, but the Bairns still

failed to hit the heights of earlier this term and failed to find the net for the third

time in five games.

Over the course of the

season's performances so

far,Tuesdaynight's showing

Bairns would rate fairly

average, but the difference

between Saturday's defeat

and Tuesday's battling loss

says more about just how

off-the-pace the team were

against Queen of the South.

In recent weeks, Steven

Pressley has noticed signs of rustiness in his team - to be

expected after the enforced winter break sapped them of match practice, but on Tuesday night there

are signs the Bairns are returning to those of late

last year.

A slick move, full of short sharp passing, in the

86th minute played Carl Finnigan into the box, ten

yards from goal. After being

forced wide, the frontman's

shot was also wide.

The finish was a disappointment from such territory but the build-up gave a glimpse of what Falkirk can be capable of when they put their minds to it.

Early on though, they

showed what can happen when their minds wander.

The defensive mess that marred Saturday's debacle at home to Queen of the South cost Tam Scobbie a starting place but this time it was Chris Mitchell who

switched off and caught

with his back turned to

his namesake Erskine The striker strode in on goal and fired low under Robert Olejnik and the ball trickled

over the line.

The right-back's confidence looked dented in the aftermath, but Falkirk regrouped well and began to

battle back.

Brian McLean struck the top of the crossbar with an acrobatic overhead volley to Jack Compton's free-kick on 16 minutes then

came to the rescue with a crucial challenge on Liam

Buchanan.

The will to win that was

so lacking on Saturday was more evident though the determination threatened to

boil over with Mark Millar and Carl Finnigan involved

in off-the-ball scuffles. If the

Bairns were going out of the

cup, they were going down

?ghting.

Steven Pressley added a steely mid?eld element in full-debutant Stewart

Murdoch, accompanying Burton O'Brien and it was Murdoch who came closest in the first half, testing

Scott Fox from Ryan Flynn's

cross.

Mitchell's confidence

returned and was a threat

at set-plays. He swung in a

right-wing free-kick onto Carl Finnigan's head but it

was narrowly wide.

A free-kick at the other

end had Robert Olejnik at

full stretch but went wide, as

did another Finnigan header

after the break.

Falkirk held the domination in possession

up to the hour mark, but as

they sat patiently they left

themselves vulnerable on

the break.

Midway through the

second half Erskine waltzed

past McLean and Mehdi

Khalis to supply Liam Buchanan, but Thistle

passed the buck ten yards

out McLean recovered to

poke clear.

It took until the 84th

minute for Falkirk to find

their best chance that

Finnigan passed up before

his control let him down a

minute later.

Judged on the second

half , the Bairns merited an

extra half hour, but so long

as Saturday and the early

?rst half is the season's low-

point, there is a base to build

on and the only way is up.