John Baird picked up the Falkirk player of the month award for October and then scored a stunning first-half hat-trick as his side swept Alloa aside to turn the heat up on Championship rivals Hibernian.
The 30 year old scored his 10th, 11th and 12th goals of the season in a scintillating first-half showing that left the visitors stung and out of the running.
Bob McHugh and Luke Leahy completed the 5-0 rout with second-half goals as the Bairns extended their winning run to four games in the league.
But it was Baird who stole all the headlines with his second hat-trick in under a month, including the 100th league goal of his career. His three goals showed all that is good about his overall play. His pace and positional acumen were prominent in the opening goal as he broke clear of the static Alloa rearguard, cut inside and then calmly slotted past Andy McNeil.
The second and third goals showed a more opportunistic side to Baird’s game. On both occasions the former Raith man turned slight opportunities into goalscoring ones, converting confidently each time to put his side firmly in control of the match.
Perhaps the only criticism of the striker’s game would be his aerial competence. But then maybe his heading ability just isn’t able to keep up with other aspects of his play at the moment.
Baird paid tribute to his teammates post-match after strolling confidently out of the changing room with the match ball in his hand.
“It’s always easier to score goals when you’re playing in a team that’s right in form” said the former Queen of the South man. “I don’t think there’s any strikers that score goals at my rate when their team isn’t playing well – so it’s a credit to all of the boys.”