While the Bairns were winning at The Falkirk Stadium, Hibs dropped more points at Dumbarton.
Despite going down to a Chris Higgins header just before half-time Falkirk rallied in the second half and lifted their lacklustre tempo to home in on the Hibbees who have now lost two games in a row, and conceded six times.
The Bairns now sit two points off Alan Stubbs’ side with ten games to go and a visit to Easter Road to come.
But at home against the Doonhamers a first half of tedium sparked to life in the final five minutes with Higgins’ header past Danny Rogers.
There had been, to that point, a distinct lack of urgency exhibited by both sides - strange given Raith’s lead over Morton and Dumbarton’s lead against Hibs giving both sides reason to press for a win.
But neither did. It took until the 26th minute for a shot of note, from Myles Hippolyte 25 yards out and straight at Jim Atkinson.
Danny Rogers had to punch out a wayward Mark Kerr header and it was all very pedestrian until half-time approached.
John Baird tested Atkinson again with a low shot after taking a good touch to Blair Alston’s through ball but all told it was a dreadfully dull display from both sides.
Yet Falkirk’s lacklustre approach was punished when Higgins headed Ryan Conroy’s free-kick past Danny Rogers two minutes before the half-time whistle of ref Willie Collum.
The Bairns re-emerged early from the break, no doubt with Peter Houston’s ire ringing in their ears. The boss made an early change, replacing captain David McCracken with Lee Miller and switching Will Vaulks back to defence with Craig Sibbald moving inside and Hippolyte dropping to the wing. It paid immediate dividends.
Miller held up the ball on his chest with his first touch, and passed wide to Hippolyte with his second. The ex-Livingston man crossed deep and John Baird rose to head his first home goal in open play since his hat-trick against Alloa on November 14.
Miller made a telling presence and Falkirk’s renewed attacks brought the second for Falkirk. Baird’s cross was knocked into his own net by Andy Dowie and the Bairns were ahead on the 66th minute.
The held that lead for a 3-1 win, adding a late strike from Blair Alston after a clever inside pass from Aaron Muirhead picked the midfielder out on the edge of the box.
Meanwhile second-placed Hibs lost 3-2 to Dumbarton and there was further late drama at Westfield as a suspicious package led to a stadium evacuation during the post-match press conferences.