Semi-final: The Falkirk Herald looks back at the 1957 Scottish Cup run that earned the Bairns the famous trophy 60 years ago.
A near capacity crowd of over 48,000 many of whom had travelled from Falkirk judging by the roar that greeted John Prentice when he led out the team, saw Falkirk draw last Saturday’s semi-final tie at Tynecastle.
Overall a draw was a fair result. Raith took the first half and deservedly led at the interval. Their attractive man-to-man football spurred on by two hard-working wing-halfs gradually wore down the Falkirk defensive state of affairs after the interval when the untiring efforts of Prentice, in particular and Wright coupled with Moran’s neat effective distribution and Derek Grierson’s crafty foraging began to tell on the Fifers.
The Bairns, though only came into the game as a commanding force when both Young and Leigh were prevented from making an extra forward. But there was no doubting the fact that neither Raith’s attractive non-stop football nor Falkirk’s big kick and direct methods, were one whit better than the other.
The game was not a classic by any means, possibly due to a state of Cup-tie nerves that caused a succession of mis-kicks and panic clearances. Rather the game was hard, gruelling, calling for strength and power to triumph over skill. Nevertheless, it was great game producing drama and thrills that had the crowd in a frenzy of excitement from the first minute, to the last brilliant finger-tip save.
Falkirk’s defence was fairly solid apart from Ian rae who just could get the better of McEwan. Andy Irvine did quite well in holding the speedy Copland while the rest all played soundly in attack and in defence. The wingers were on their game and especially Tom Murray who gave Bina a difficult time. Along with George Merchant whose height and strength often had McNaught in trouble, young Murray was the victim of confident penalty claims.
Falkirk took the lead with an unexpected goal by Grierson in 17 minutes. O’Hara made ground on the left, cut past Polland before cutting the ball back from the goal-line. Grierson had difficulty in controlling but eventually sent a low angular shot into the far corner of the net. Minutes later the Bairns were almost two up when Drummond mistimed a long Parker punt and the ball bounced over the keeper’s head and just outside the goal.
On the half-hour Copland equalised. McNaught quickly returned a Slater clearance and although the Raith centre looked off-side the referee allowed him to run on and score. Ten minutes later Falkirk fell again. McEwan took a pass on the edge of the box, dallied with Rae watching him, then shot into the goal. The ball appeared to strike a defender on the way.
Within seconds of the resumption Moran raced to the goal-line on a Merchant pass and his fast low cross was flashed into the net by Andy Leigh in an effort to clear. And that was how it stayed until the end. So on to Wednesday’s replay.