CURSED IN THE CUPS

Pic Michael Gillen 24/08/10. STIRLING UNI. FHS. Falkirk away strip launch. Kallum Higginbotham and Lewis Bonar.
Pic Michael Gillen 24/08/10. STIRLING UNI. FHS. Falkirk away strip launch. Kallum Higginbotham and Lewis Bonar.
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KALLUM Higginbotham and Stewart Murdoch will again sit in the stands for a high-profile Falkirk match.

The duo missed out on the glamour cup tie with Rangers after red cards at Livingston and now both will be spectators in the Ramsdens Cup final after picking up their second yellow cards of the competition in the weekend win over Annan.

Steven Pressley blasted the ‘ridiculous’ suspension and sympathised with the pair.

“I’m really disappointed for the boys because they’ve been so good for us this season. Both missed the high-profile game against Rangers and now sit out a cup final.

“It’s a ridiculous situation that they miss this cup final.

“Yes, suspensions should apply up to the semi-final but you can’t justify denying a young player an event like that.

“I really do feel for them because they picked up the bookings for doing nothing more than being committed to the team.”

Higginbotham and Murdoch shrugged off their disappointments, and say they’re just focussing on league duty, starting with Saturday’s match against Queen of the South.

“I spoke to the gaffer, and he said just to get on with it because there are plenty more games,” said Murdoch.

“The final isn’t until April but it will maybe sink in nearer the time.

“I probably didn’t need to get yellow carded because we were 3-0 up but one of those things.

“Higgy joked afterwards I had got booked to join him in the stands again - just like the Rangers match.”

The final would have been Murdoch’s first big cup final of his career - Higginbotham has played on the main stage before, in the English end-of-season play-offs for Rochdale at Wembley.

“I lost that game but this would have been my first senior final,” said Higginbotham.

“It’s a disappointment, but you can’t pull out of challenges.”

Both missed out on the glamour tie with Rangers and though they’ll sit it out again, t they will still feel a part of the team.

The pair were on the touchline celebrating after Mark Millar’s famous free-kick beat Rangers, and Murdoch says he’ll be part of the group seeking the Challenge Cup for a record-breaking fourth time.

“I watched the Rangers game in the stands with my Dad but I still felt a part of things.

“You’re always wanting the boys to win even though you can’t help, but you also hope the player replacing you doesn’t do any better than you would have, and that you’ll get your place back.

“Missing big games is disappointing,” Murdoch added, echoing Higginbotham, who added “We just have to win the league now to make up for it.”

Team-mate David Weatherston knows how the two players feel.

He’s reached three Challeneg Cup finals now with St Johnstone, Queen of the South and Falkirk, but never been involved in the showpiece.

Now he runs the risk of missing this season’s finale as his Bairns deal runs out in January.

“I am hoping I get signed up so I can be part of it,” Weatherston told Heraldsport. “I’ve been part of squads reaching finals before but never played in one and I wouldn’t like to miss out again - I feel sorry for Higgy and Murdo because they’ve been brilliant for us.”

Weatherston faces his old side at the weekend and the Bairns have Kieran Duffie returning from suspension, while Stephen Kingsley returned to training this week. The youngster is recovering from a knee injury.