Craigen comes in from the cold to light up Bairns midfield options

James Craigen turned in a match winning performance, and also landed the three starshot points. Pic by Michael Gillen.
James Craigen turned in a match winning performance, and also landed the three starshot points. Pic by Michael Gillen.

James Craigen turned in a match-winning performance at Ayr on Saturday and his boss believes the Bairns are finally seeing the best of him.

Since coming to Falkirk from Raith Rovers on a pre-contract agreement in the summer, Craigen has been a bit-part player in Peter Houston’s side.

But starting at Somerset Park on Saturday he showed Falkirk what was in store with a performance capped by a goal, but one which really should have been two – hitting the post in the second half.

The Englishman said: “I’m delighted to get on the scoresheet – a lot longer than I’d have hoped it would have taken – but it’s pleasing to score.

“My injury came at a bad time and I’m delighted the gaffer gave me a start and it was good to get a goal, get three points and in what was a good team performance.

“Last week could have been the turning point for the season, taking a good point away at Hibs with Tom Taiwo sent off and us playing 70 minutes with ten men.

“Then a good win ground out in poor conditions – we just want to stay strong from here and put a good run together.”

Craigen featured in a slightly changed line-up from Peter Houston in a 4-2-3-1 system and has surely cemented a place in the team for next weekend’s home match with St Mirren.

The Bairns boss said: “It’s been stop-start for him because of injury but he showed us the player he can be, the good player he is.”

Seizing his chance is not lost on the midfielder either. He added: “Look at the bench, it’s such a strong squad this season and most players could play in any team in this league so when you get your chance you’ve got to take it because you won’t know when the next one will come.”

And as well as being glad about his start he was also glad his strike counted for something as spells of torrential rain and horrendous hailstones threatened the completion of the match.

He added: “My hands were so cold by the end of it. You need four pairs of gloves in conditions like that. It was particularly cold – I didn’t notice it much in the first half but in the second – bbrrr!

“You don’t call it off though – not with us 1-0 up!”

Falkirk have no game this weekend with the Scottish Cup taking centre stage. They are next in action on December 3 at home to St Mirren.