Sports Editor David Oliver looks back on Saturday's 3-0 win for Falkirk against Dumbarton in the Monday Verdict
It wasn’t particularly pretty but they kept it together, stuck to the task and made it through to the end.
That goes for both Falkirk and Gregor Buchanan’s nose. The captain suffered a horrific facial collision in the first half, then carried on through 90 minutes for the three points before heading for the hospital.
The first game of 2020 had been, at times, a painful watch, but nothing like the centre-half’s broken nose after he smashed his face in an aerial challenge with Ryan Tierney.
It’s going to take more battling on to see this Falkirk task through too. Buchanan’s bravery – he was still heading corner kicks seeking his first Falkirk goal with two plugs stemming the bloodflow – is the tone that needs to run through the Bairns for the remainder of the season, overcoming the obstacles and beating whatever is put in front of them.
PLAYER PROFILE: Gregor Buchanan
Granted on Saturday not much was, but there was a professionalism from Falkirk in just getting the job done.
Dumbarton could only name three substitutes, two of whom had been recalled from loan spells in junior football a few days earlier. Their goalkeeper looked decidedly off colour and, while they had a couple of chances and at one stage rattled the crossbar, they rarely troubled Robbie Mutch at the other end.
Falkirk took their time clicking through the gears but once they got going in the second half, after a jump-start from Charlie Telfer’s deflected opener in the first, there was only going to be one winner. And there was. Earlier in the season, perhaps running back to the last time the sides met in November – that may not have been the case for this group of players.
But Falkirk stuck to the task and broke the Sons down on a fairly flat afternoon at The Falkirk Stadium, all round. Buchanan’s injury was the lowpoint of a passable start to the new year which extended the unbeaten run for managers David McCracken and Lee Miller, and one which maintains pace with Airdrie and Raith Rovers above them in the league table. But it’s how, and where, Falkirk finish this that counts.
They’ll need to fight through the pain barrier like Buchanan. Take their chances like Declan McManus did in the second half and get the rub of the green like they did with Telfer’s opener after a slow start.
They can’t afford too many lethargic openings like Saturday either, but they can be overlooked, and will be, if the players get the job done as they went on to do and deliver three points from later games no matter the opposition. Scaling the table is the objective and three points each week will do that, no matter who they come against and how they’re achieved.
It might not be pretty but the blood, sweat and tears will be worth it if there are cheers greeting the League One title in May.
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