Managerless St Mirren won’t lack direction when Falkirk visit

Falkirk head to Paisley tonight for the 5.15pm kick off. Pic by Michael Gillen.
Falkirk head to Paisley tonight for the 5.15pm kick off. Pic by Michael Gillen.

St Mirren might not have a manager in place for tonight’s televised SPFL Championship match with Falkirk, but Bairns boss Peter Houston won’t be staring across at an empty dug-out.

Nor will he take anything for granted against a Buddies team currently rooted to the bottom of the table, who will be doing their bit to impress their new boss – whoever that might be.

Peter Houston doesn't know who'll be in his opposite dugout. Pic by Michael Gillen.

Peter Houston doesn't know who'll be in his opposite dugout. Pic by Michael Gillen.

While the Paisley side find Alex Rae’s successor Allan McManus is presiding over team matters, and Houston knows the former Morton defender well.

“I don’t know if St Mirren will have a manager in place or not when we play them. It might not matter – I know Allan McManus well from my Hearts days.

“He will have them organised and if the new manager is in the stand watching it could make the job tougher because you always get a spark in that scenario.

“We’re maybe getting St Mirren at the wrong time, but it’s not them, it’s what we do. A manager can’t run on the park and do anything, it’s up to the players out there and that’s what we have to look at.”

Baird scored a penalty when Falkirk won 3-2 last season. Pic by Michael Gillen.

Baird scored a penalty when Falkirk won 3-2 last season. Pic by Michael Gillen.

And look at it the Bairns management team shall.

St Mirren fought hard against Dunfermline last week but ex-Bairn Farid El Alagui scored a late winner for the Pars in a 4-3 cracker which was screened, as tonight’s game will be, by BBC Alba.

“When things are going against you, you can be punished,” added Houston. “But to score three goals away from home – at a place like Dunfermline – you’d expect to win.

“They showed character in that game so they’ll be disappointed. Going to Paisley is never easy anyway, but I’ll concern myself with our players.

Alex Rae was at Falkirk, seen here in August 1989.

Alex Rae was at Falkirk, seen here in August 1989.

“We know what St Mirren have; good pace from the boy Morgan; Stevie Mallan is a free-kick expert and John Sutton is getting goals again - they’re good players – plus they’ve also got Ryan Hardie who did well for Raith Rovers last season.

“That tells me they have good players in there who can change it for them, but hopefully not this Saturday.”

While ex-Bairns midfielder Rae lost his job after a woeful start to the season, Falkirk have rallied after early disappointments too.

Suddenly the Bairns are third in the Championship, on the crest of a wave with five wins from their last five and gradually they have found their stride.

John Baird. Pic by Michael Gillen.

John Baird. Pic by Michael Gillen.

The only sides to have beaten the Bairns are the two above them in the table – QOS and Hibernian – and Falkirk are right on track, and could even exceed expectations over the next few weeks, according to the team boss who never panicked – nor looked at the league table.

“I set the target of 15 points per quarter and they have two games to get two points. If we go above the 15 I set, then well and good,” Houston added.

Referee for the match will be John Beaton.

John Baird scored the winner on the Bairns first trip to Greenhill Road last season. Pic by Michael Gillen.

John Baird scored the winner on the Bairns first trip to Greenhill Road last season. Pic by Michael Gillen.