Gibson aims for fresh start at Bairns

Willie Gibson Falkirk FC.
Willie Gibson Falkirk FC.

Falkirk re-ignited Kallum Higginbotham’s career - and now the Bairns are planning on the same for Willie Gibson.

Huddersfield Town bought out the remaining three months of Higginbotham’s contract for a fee believed to be £150,000 on Tuesday.

And Falkirk will tie up free-agent Gibson as his replacement this morning.

The former Kilmarnock and Dunfermline attacker has been released from an unhappy spell with Crawley Town and has a chance to re-ignite his promising career with the Bairns.

Higginbotham did just that after switching to Scotland from Rochdale 18 months ago.

Speaking moments after sealing his switch to the Terriers, where he’ll be joined by Murray Wallace in the summer, Higginbotham told The Falkirk Herald:

“It’s going right for Falkirk because they are giving young players a chance. They have re-ignited my career. That’s why I went to the club and I loved my time in Scotland. They give young players a chance and the manager is not afraid to play them.

“Now the club is reaping the rewards from it, and players can see what can be achieved there.

“I’m grateful to the manager and I’ve got to say thanks to him - and the fans - for being great with me. The manager has taught me a lot and my move turned my career around from where it was going with Rochdale. The time was right for a move - and I am a better player from my time at Falkirk.”

Higginbotham will not be alone at the Terriers. Former Bairns midfielder Scott Arfield is already at the Galpharm, and Murray Wallace has signed on with Lee Clark’s side - though returns north to Falkirk for the remainder of the season.

The deal for Wallace was £300,000 up front but could rise close to three-quarters of a million with add-on fees.

Though he’s coming back up the road, the only Scottish return for Higginbotham is to clear his home near the club’s Stirling University base.

“I’ll miss the guys at Falkirk a lot,” he added, “but I am looking forward to playing with quality players at Huddersfield like Jordan Rhodes - that’s a big draw.

“The guys I’ve left behind at Falkirk know they can catch Ross County - there is enough quality at the club to do it, and they deserve it.

“I feel I’ve gone out on a high - but it could have been higher if we had won the game on Sunday. I have left a fantastic team with a fantastic spirit but it’s a chance to progress my career - and that’s thanks to Falkirk re-igniting my career.”

Falkirk also threw out a bid from Blackpool for midfield lynchpin Mark Millar.

A club source said: “Even if we hadn’t sold Higginbotham and Wallace, the money offered for Mark was way off what we would consider, but with the other sales there was no pressure to agree to such a deal.”