Baird’s end product returns to match his effort

03-09-2016. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Falkirk FC v Elgin City FC. IRN-BRU Cup, third round. Third goal Falkirk, John Baird 9.
03-09-2016. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Falkirk FC v Elgin City FC. IRN-BRU Cup, third round. Third goal Falkirk, John Baird 9.

A return to the scoresheet for Falkirk’s strikers is welcome news for Bairns fans.

John Baird had endured a 155-day drought despite finishing last season’s top scorer by a distance, and Bob McHugh’s strikes were similarly, if not quite so severely spordaic.

03-09-2016. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Falkirk FC v Elgin City FC. IRN-BRU Cup, third round. Third goal Falkirk, John Baird 9.

03-09-2016. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Falkirk FC v Elgin City FC. IRN-BRU Cup, third round. Third goal Falkirk, John Baird 9.

But Peter Houston persevered with them and they played their way back into form with McHugh heading the opener against Elgin and lashing another in the second half and Baird hitting two of his own.

“I felt Baird and McHugh were playing well and just needed a goal to spark them,” admitted the Bairns boss.

“One of my criticisms at Morton and QOS was we weren’t giving players the opportunities. We have created plenty chances in the last two games.

“If you feed McHugh and Baird chances they’ll score them, and that’ll give them confidence – especially Bairdy. It will be a relief to him.

03-09-2016. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Falkirk FC v Elgin City FC. IRN-BRU Cup, third round. First goal Falkirk, Bob McHugh 19.

03-09-2016. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Falkirk FC v Elgin City FC. IRN-BRU Cup, third round. First goal Falkirk, Bob McHugh 19.

“Goalscorers like John Baird who has scored at every club he’s been at - when you go through a drought this season and the latter part of last season he still managed 19 goals with that spell too – that tells you something.

“It tells you he’s desperate to score.”

And score he did. The relief was palpable as he leapt and punched the air after converting in the first half and Houston knew that even without the goals, the little striker was still a valuable asset to the side.

“I felt John was working too hard for the team. That sounds ridiculous but he was working so hard outside the areas where he scores goals from and was running channels and helping in behind... all the good work was outside the box.

“We discussed two things – get into the box. Keep working hard but in the areas where he might get an opportunity.

“I also thought we needed to make mroe chances for him and the strikers and that’s coming.”

Houston wants more chances again this weekend when Falkirk go to Stark’s Park. Raith are unbeaten in nine home league games, but haven’t beaten Falkirk for six and they’re flying high in Championship under new manager Gary Locke who raised fans’ doubts over the summer after replacing Ray McKinnon.

Results though are speaking for themselves and though they slipped out of the Irn-Bru Cup at the weekend, Houston is wary of the danger at Stark’s Park.

Raith are doing well. Lockey has done exceptionally well. There was a lot of dissention when he went in and they’d lost Ray McKinnon, but I thought at the time he needed a chance and Raith fans will be thinking wait a minute and some will have egg on their faces.

“He’s shown he can organise teams.

“We’re aware of their dangers, there will be a good crowd, Raith have started well and all of them over there are tight affairs.

“They’ll fancy their chances but we will as well and we’re starting to build a bit of momentum and look a bit better.”