Bairns defeated in Stirlingshire Cup

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Falkirk staged a comeback but couldn’t recoup the Stirlingshire Cup after Dumbarton scored three first half goals to retain the trophy.

First half goals from Mark Gilhaney, Donald McCallum and Bryan Prunty gave the Sons an unassailable lead, but the Bairns fought back in a much improved second half with a Botti Bia-bi header and Ryan Blair penalty.

Blair won the spot-kick himself after switching to left-back to replace Tyler Fulton at half-time.

Conor Hogg’s introduction at the break made a big diffeence to the Bairns, as did Dumbarton withdrawing the experienced front pairing of Prunty and Gilhaney.

But though the Bairns hit the crossbar twice through Hogg and Michael Martin they couldn’t find the equaliser and their challenge ended when Connor Greene was red-carded on 83 minutes for wrestling with Ally McKerracher.

Boss Gary Holt praised his side’s reaction to his half-time team-talk.

“This one was a lot angrier than Saturday’s, but if that’s what it takes to get them going I’ll start having a go at the guys before the match instead of half-time.

“They’ll get plaudits from the way they played second half and rightly so, but they need to learn we have to start games that way. I demand it.”

The final was held over from last season. Stenhousemuir will play Falkirk in the first round of this term’s competition next Wedensday at Ochilview.

Hear Gary Holt’s reaction to last night’s 3-2 defeat and his thoughts ahead of Saturday’s Clyde match at www.falkirkherald.co.uk later today.