Three points just perfect for Falkirk at Livingston

Photo: John Devlin. Blair Alston was a second half substitute in the Ramsdens Cup win over Ayr and restored to the starting line-up for the league match at Livingston
Photo: John Devlin. Blair Alston was a second half substitute in the Ramsdens Cup win over Ayr and restored to the starting line-up for the league match at Livingston

Phil Roberts fired a perfect hat-trick as Falkirk routed Livingston 3-0.

Leading 2-0 at half-time, Roberts headed another after the break as Gary Holt’s side attacked with intent from the start.

The Bairns were sporting their all-white away kits, and Gary Holt restored midweek absentees Phil Roberts and Stephen Kingsley to the first team, and moved Blair Alston and Jay Fulton back into the starting XI.

Craig Sibbald dropped onto the bench, and Thomas Grant out the squad altogether.

With Roberts in the side Falkirk were a significantly more prevalent threat from the start when compared with the Ramsdens Cup win at Ayr, and so it proved.

The striker found his range with an early strike that slid well wide, but his next effort more than made up for it.

On 29 minutes, Kyle Turnbull slipped the ball down the left to Rory Loy and selling Ross Docherty a dummy he crossed low to Roberts on the edge of the six-yard area. The striker turned the ball towards the goal and it took a bobbleoff his marker on its’ way into the net, via Darren Jamieson’s flailing palm.

As soon as the ball was in the Bairns’ confidence soared, and particularly the striker’s.

He sent a stunning strike past Jamieson 12 minutes later, winning the race with defender Callum Fordyce to meet Jay Fulton’s looped ball over the top and smash across goal into the top corner.

Falkirk were cheered off the park, such was their dominance in the first half, and Livingston received the opposite audio from their scattering of support in the west stand.

The best was yet to come from the Bairns though as Kingsley whipped in a free-kick from the left of the penalty box that looked - from the press box view - to be goal-bound until a flailing leg cleared into the corner. Rory Loy retrieved, supported by Blair Alston and the pair combined some excellent footwork for a one-two that allowed former Rangers forward Loy to cross. Roberts was unmarked in the centre of the goal and nodded in off the post and was already racing, head nodding, tongue flailing, towards the away support before the ball hit the net.

It was a perfect hat-trick for the striker, and sealed the game and rounded off Roberts’ involvement in proceedings as today’s goal hero was replaced by the midweek one, Scott Shepherd.

With nothing to lose Livingston pressed for a consolation, but the Bairns were determined not to lose a goal infront of 1416 supporters at the Energy Assets Arena.

Stephen Kingsley and Will Vaulks in particular made brave blocks to stifle Andy Barrowman and substitute Danny Mullen, and the latter was booked for simulation.

He did have a chance to score when he raced in on goal but was forced wide by McGovern and cut back for Barrowman. Kingsley nipped in to poke away from the former Bairns trialist and follow-ups from both forwards were blocked by the defender and goalkeeper.

With Dunfermline visiting The Falkirk Stadium on Tuesday on the back of a high-scoring match at Stenhousemuir today, Gary Holt cycled his squad adding Craig Sibbald and Luke Leahy for Jay Fulton and Rory Loy to see out the victory.