Semi-final replay: The Falkirk Herald looks back at the 1957 Scottish Cup run that earned the Bairns the famous trophy 60 years ago.
If ever a team deserved to win their way to Hampden it surely was Falkirk on their display at Tynescastle on Wednesday. Never before have they defended so magnificently. And behind it was John Prentice whose leadership was simply superb. He kept the defence steady and was always there forcing on his forwards.
The whole defence supported Prentice with almost everything they had and especially Bert Slater who had some brilliant saves. He was, though, beaten once by a Kelly effort late in the second half but there was Alex Parker on the goal-line to clear. And Alex has never played so well either. Although he has lost his Wembley “cap” on this form Parker must surely be in the World Cup party. Ian Rae steadied up on Saturday’s performance and generally broke even in his tussles with McEwan.
The mid-line taking its cue from Prentice was terrific during the Raith barrage in the second half. Wright was there time and again to half the left-wing thrusts of Raith while I have never seen Andy Irvine so strong and cool. Irvine is beginning to settle down well at centre-half and he gave the dashing Copland little scope.
With the defence holding on so well Doug Moran, the best forward afield, came away with almost a non-stop service to the attack and his goal ten minutes after the start was the kind you dream of. Prentice started the movement for Moran to give to Merchant. The centre moved left, then a quick back-heeler and Moran, taking the pass, ran in to beat Drummond.
Grierson was again overshadowed by Moran’s hard-working display and was for long periods right out of the game. On the other hand George merchant despite looking slow at times, was a constant danger to McNaught and it was from a Merchant pass that Falkirk scored their second goal near the end. Prentice sent a long clearance up-field where Merchant opened the defence with apass that found O’Hara with a clear road to goal. The winger cut in and beat Drummond. It was fitting that the winger should score this goal, for he had tried hard all afternoon to punch home the great service from Moran and Prentice. On the right, too, Murray gave Bain a difficult time but the boy was for long periods forced to do his own foraging.
Raith did manage to score but their goal was disputed by the referee and linesman and eventually the Bairns were awarded a free-kick for what is thought to be off-side.
However, taking into consideration the fact that Raith had most of the play after the interval, forcing Falkirk to concede corner after corner the Fife team never looked like Cup finalists. They had no direct punch and time and again Falkirk were allowed to cover and block Raith’s way to goal.
But what Raith lacked most of all was a little bit of Doug Moran’s finesse. They badly needed someone to open up the Falkirk defence by swinging the ball about.
There it is, though, Falkirk have done it. So it is on to Hampden.