The Benchman: Dumfries clouds have silver lining

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Our man noticed dark clouds on the horizon in Dumfries but Loy, Vaulks and the Bairns’ commitment mean the Bairns are heading for Hampden. But will there be Sunshine on Leith?

STORM WARNING: What is it about Dumfries and stormy weather? It seems the winds home in on Palmerston just as UFOs home in on Bonnybridge. The toilet rolls that were thrown on to the pitch from the Terregles Street terracing at kick-off time picked up speeds approaching 50 m.p.h. as they headed for the home support. The conditions ruined any hope of silky soccer and both sets of players did well to put on a show for the TV cameras.

Bill Shankly’s well-known quote might reflect his obsession, but he’s wrong.

WILL VAULKS: Good to see Will commit to the club for a further period of time. He has proved a real find and there were several clubs looking at him. I met one well-known former Scotland manager who was asking me how that player with the German-sounding name was doing.

RORY LOY: What an object lesson in keeping focus. I don’t want to talk about Dundee he says-and he doesn’t. He continues to give 100% commitment to Falkirk and getting us to the play-offs and maybe the Scottish Cup Final as well. How often have we seen players stop trying when a move is in the offing?

IT’S ONLY A GAME: When you see horrible injuries like that suffered by Luke Leahy on Friday night, you realise that it is only a game- and that life is much more important. Bill Shankly’s well-known quote might reflect his obsession, but he’s wrong.

BABY LOVE: Well done to Jamie MacDonald for keeping a clean sheet on Friday night- and keeping awake! The Maternity Ward at 2.00 a.m. is not the ideal pre-match preparation. Congratulations to all concerned.

SPITTING DISTANCE: There is no escape from the all-prying eye of the TV camera. Those trying to defend Cisse and Evans would have their work cut out. If you got a fiver for every time you saw a player spit, you would be a rich person indeed. Cisse’s actions were deplorable, and for Evans to base his case on whether or not he spat at -or near Cisse- is just laughable. Kids copy what they see on TV.

BOOKWORMS: Football books tend to end up in discount stores in fairly quick order. The market is flooded with the life stories of players, managers and coaches. Books with a Falkirk content are relatively rare, and we have seen biographies of John White, Davie Weir, Alex Ferguson, Chris Waddle, Derek Ferguson and Kevin Drinkell all give Falkirk a mention. Good luck to Alex Totten with his new book From The Kop To The Kelpies.

ANSWERS: The Falkirk Bairn who played for Italy was Giovanni (Johnny) Moscardini. Scott Flinders was signed from Crystal Palace.

TEASER: How many non-Scots have managed Falkirk?

DAVE MACKAY: Former Bo’ness centre-half Andy McBlain used to rave about a young 16-year-old boy he played with for Scotland Juniors. His name was Dave Mackay. Andy knew Dave would be a star one day- and he was right.