Hopes realised and capabilities on show at Falkirk: The Monday Verdict

Perhaps this was the game that symbolises this season at Falkirk in League One, sports editor David Oliver suggests.

Monday, 27th January 2020, 4:31 pm
Paul Dixon is mobbed after his goal - the Bairns' sixth. Picture: Michael Gillen.
Paul Dixon is mobbed after his goal - the Bairns' sixth. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Optimism at the start, expecting a routine victory and plenty of goals only for the start to be tougher than expected, players unfamiliar with one another... then cajoled by David McCracken and Lee Miller at the halfway point as said players slowly gel and slip through the gears before finding top gear and finishing with a flourish and the fans roaring once again.

That’s exactly how Falkirk played on Saturday against Forfar. They were flat to fizzing, still to sparkling – ignited by Aidan Connolly’s wing trickery and thunderous goals off the left flank.

It’s not about how they started, it’s how and where they finish and many more six-star performances like this and the Bairns will be sitting pretty by the time Raith Rovers come to town on the final day of the season and a title showdown will be a formality.

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Such a scoreline, and such a scenario, was far removed from the first half where nothing happened until the 19th minute and Declan McManus’ strike was pushed onto the crossbar by Marc McCallum in the Forfar goal.

Indeed Falkirk looked, without captain Grgeor Buchanan and with new signings Rafa de Vita, Josh Todd and Ben Hall in the side like a new side feeling their way through the opening stages. Defensive shape was stretched, there were mistakes, players were either handing initiative to unwitting team-mates or both trying to do the same. But once the creases and kinks were smoothed out, Falkirk eased ahead and the full-time fitness told as did the quality and class of the Bairns, and particularly Connolly, for a late flurry of goals that Falkirk have threatened in the past, but ruthlessly exlpoited against the Loons.

Even Stuart Malcolm, the visiting manager’s frustrated boot of the ball into the empty sections of the stand after the fourth couldn’t interrupt the Bairns’ attacking momentum, once whistle-happy official Craig Napier had found the correct culprit to show a yellow-card of course.

“I didn’t see it coming, but on the flip side, we are capable of that,” admitted Lee Miller afterwards.

That capability has never been in doubt this season. Falkirk hit Dumbarton for six earlier this term and such scorelines were expected by the demanding support in the stands as League One reality sunk in over the summer.

Hopes have been realised. The fans’ songbook was dusted down again late on and the players gave them something to sing about. A cohesive complementary cacophony saw out the game and the goals.

There’s nothing to say the same won’t see out the season too if the Bairns can keep this unbeaten run, and goal-scoring momentum going.