Hamilton 1 Falkirk 0: End of the season for Bairns

18-05-2014. Picture Michael Gillen. HAMLITON. New Douglas Park. Hamilton v Falkirk. Play-off semi-final second leg. Rory Loy.
18-05-2014. Picture Michael Gillen. HAMLITON. New Douglas Park. Hamilton v Falkirk. Play-off semi-final second leg. Rory Loy.
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A first half slip has left Falkirk in the Championship next season.

Jason Scotland’s cut-back for Tony Andreu was enough to give the home side the lead at New Douglas Park and they held it to seal passage to the play-off final against Hibs.

18-05-2014. Picture Michael Gillen. HAMLITON. New Douglas Park. Hamilton v Falkirk. Play-off semi-final second leg. Gary Holt.

18-05-2014. Picture Michael Gillen. HAMLITON. New Douglas Park. Hamilton v Falkirk. Play-off semi-final second leg. Gary Holt.

The Bairns journey has been long, and constant this season and they came close to forcing an extension with a second-half push that just failed to deliver.

Stephen Kingsley blasted a 30-yarder just over the top corner, Mark Beck and David McCracken headed narrowly wide, and the latter also noded into Kevin Cuthbert’s arms late on.

But the Bairns were pressing by that stage and were vulnerable to the counter and were almost picked off by Andy Ryan who was only foiled by a two-handed stop by Michael McGovern and, on the full-time whistle, Luke Leahy’s header off the line.

In the first half the Bairns were not so lucky and they failed to take a firm grip of the game after an even opening.

The match hinged on a clever roll of the hips by Jason Scotland who manouevered David McCracken to the wrong side of goal and cut back for Andreu to tap in on 15 minutes.

Michael McGovern had no chance but almost presented Scotland with another when he smothered Ziggy Gordon’s through-ball but then spilled it at the forward’s feet and only Jonny Flynn’s intervention stopped a certain goal.

Flynn was in excellent form at the back for the Bairns but going forward his team-mates were struggling against a similarly impressive Accies back-line.

The Bairns had chances in the first half but only one to speak of when Mark Beck sent a diving header at goal and Cuthbert scrambled it clear. The goalkeeper had to push another out after the break when Will Vaulks struck a powerful volley from Kingsley’s switched ball that Cuthbert beat out.

From that moment on it seemed to be the Accies day and as the second half dropped into a lull, time ticked on.

Late substitutions from Gary Holt saw Scott Shepherd and Luke Leahy go on for the Bairns but they had minimal impact other than the last-gasp clearance that preceded the referee’s whistle.

The fans were split 50-50 but each side stayed to applaud both sides off the park, Hamilton even held off to let Falkirk take the plaudits from the home fans too.

Accies play Hibs on Wednesday night at New Douglas Park, then at Easter Road on Sunday.

Falkirk must wait until late July for their next fixture with Hearts, Rangers and possibly Hibs in prospect next term.