Pressley hails his 'soldier' Stewart Murdoch

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Bairns boss will shuffle the pack for Livingston as Murdoch and McGovern miss out.

Steven Pressley has expressed his disappointment to www.falkirkherald.co.uk after two of his first-team stars were ruled out of Saturday's match with Livingston in 24 hours.

Michael McGovern's suspension was upheld by the Scottish Football Association, leaving Falkirk with rookie keeper Graham Bowman between the sticks for the visit of John Hughes' side.

And just 18 hours earlier, physio Kenny Cross told the Bairns manager he wouldn't have Stewart Murdoch available either - after a scan revealed the midfielder had a fracture in his fifth metatarsal.

Murdoch will miss the remainder of the season with the injury expected to take six weeks to heal - and the final league game of the season six weeks away.

"I'm so disappointed for Stewart," Pressley told The Falkirk Herald. "His season is over.

"He has been playing with a problem in his foot for the past wee while, and had been feeling it in recent games, but he couldn't go on at half-time of the Morton game.

"That sums Stewart Murdoch up. Alex Smith calls him the soldier because he gets on with it, nothing keeps him down. He played through the pain barrier and has been excellent for us this season, but the scan showed a fracture and that's ruled him out. I'm so disappointed for the kid.

"Murdo has been a terrific influence on the group - and we can't forget this is his first full season with the club, and he has played a lot of football."

The midfielder's omission paves the way for fringe players like Kris Faulds to gain more match experience, and Faulds like his fellow teenager Bowman, will be invovled tomorrow.

"It's another opportunity for the young players to gain even more experience between now and the end of the season - in preparation for next term.

"Graham will be in goals because Michael is out. We thought we had a case for the appeal, and we're disappointed with the decision, but we'll get on with it.

"Graham is a young goalkeeper and he's one of a number of young players who'll benefit from first team exposure. I think the weekend's game will have one of our youngest squads yet."

The young squad will include Farid El Alagui who returns from suspension, as does Kieran Duffie. Craig Sibbald misses out through international duty with Scotland's under-17 squad, who play Denmark in a make or break clash.

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