Falkirk go into today’s match with Morton knowing even victory might not be enough to secure second place.
It is an exciting end to a roller-coaster season for Falkirk, with the chase for a play-off advantage coming down to goal difference, and even, goals scored.
The Bairns have done their fair share in front of goal. John Baird is pushing 30 strikes, and has been assisted by Bob McHugh, Lee Miller plus Blair Alston from midfield also hitting double figures.
There have been ecstatic scenes as the Bairns have notched last minute goals, sending the Falkirk following wild, but they’ve conceded a few too.
However come 12.30pm, when it all comes down to the wire, Peter Houston will have no regrets.
“We have one job to do on Sunday, and that’s win a match,” said the Bairns boss.
“But every single game this season, our players have had one job to do and that’s win. To their credit they have done that.
“We’ve scored last minute goals to win us points, we’ve conceded last minute goals to cost us points. You can’t moan about them because we have scored them ourselves.
“I’ve no complaints over them, but privately you do rue them with the backroom team. Of course you say if only we hadn’t lost the last minute goal at Easter Road, at Alloa, or the penalty at Dumbarton.
“But we could equally ask where would we be if we hadn’t scored a last minute goal at St Mirren when drawing 2-2, or here when we were playing St Mirren.
“It’s swings and roundabouts but we’re not uptight. We’re not fatigued, but we’ve picked up injuries that diminishes our squad. That’s the only moan.”
Houston admits, offered this scenario going in to the final day he’d have welcomed it back at the start of July with pre-season training underway, but the task is not an easy one.
Falkirk have a three goal cushion over Hibs who host Queen of the South. Falkirk must match or better the Hibees’ result. Hibs are looking to hit the net a minimum of four times to overturn the goal difference but Falkirk could also edge ahead in terms of goals scored if the goal difference is the same after 90 minutes this afternoon.
Should both of those fail to separate the sides, Hibs would finish second courtesy of a better head-to-head record against the Bairns. Jason Cummings’ early penaalty back in October for a 1-0 win at The Falkirk Stadium would come back to haunt the Bairns.
However, it’s all academic and the practical problem Falkirk face first and foremost, and what they can influence, is the match with Morton. No easy task as acknowledged by Houston this week.
“Jim Duffy will have them fired right up for the game,” he warned.
“Some of our toughest matches this season have been against Morton. Lee Miller scored a last minute winner here at The Falkirk Stadium and Morton deserved to take something from that game. In another, we were hanging on at the end when Conor McGrandles suffered his broken leg – it’s been one of the hardest place to go this season.”