Ramsden Cup preview: Previous winners were technically superb

Davie Nicholls
Davie Nicholls
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Falkirk clinched their last Challenge Cup by achieving something the club has failed to do this season - beating Ross County.

The Highlanders of 2012 are a team packed with experienced players who look set to claim the First Division title, much like the Bairns side of 2004.

But there’s one big difference between the teams, according to midfield stalwart David Nicholls.

Falkirk liked to get the ball on the deck and play expansive, passing football - much like Steven Pressley’s current side.

With players such as the experienced Scottish internationalist John O’Neil in the midfield, playing alongside a certain Trinadian by the name of Russell Latapy, the Bairns’ class of 04/05 was a formidable one.

“Technically, it was a very good side,” Nicholls told Heraldsport.

“Big Yogi liked us to get the ball down and pass it about, and with the players we had in the team, we could do that with great effect.

“Looking at the standard of the SPL today, I have no doubt that our team could have competed at the top end of the league.”

Falkirk travelled north to McDiarmid Park in November, 2004 having already chalked up a victory at that ground in the same competition, having dispatched St Johnstone 2-1 in a semi-final clash the previous month.

John Hughes’ side were also going strong in the First Division and already showing the form that would clinch them the championship flag at the season’s end.

But the Bairns squad was focused solely on winning the Challenge Cup when they ran out at a sunny MacDiarmid Park to face Ross County.

“It was a competition all the players took very seriously,” said Nicholls.

“We were aware that Falkirk had won the cup a few times in the past, and we wanted to win it for ourselves and become part of the club’s history.

“You want to win every competition you enter, and I’m sure the players today will be exactly the same.”

Falkirk equalised through substitute Neil Scally after 70 minutes with a fine strike.

Just five minutes later Daryl Duffy hit what proved to be the winner, sparking celebrations amongst the fans and players alike.

“Scally’s goal is what I remember most about the game,” said Nicholls.

“We were all thrilled to win it. I hope Falkirk can go on and win it again this weekend.”