Paul Hartley has admitted disappointment at Kevin O’Hara’s eight-match ban and insists the Bairns will do their best to keep his career on track.
The striker will be out of action until 2018 – and only eligible to return against Dunfermline on January 2 – after landing an excessive misconduct ban for comments made to Dunfermline forward Dean Shiels.
Falkirk have requested the written reasoning behind the ruling, but boss Hartley is focussed on keeping the striker involved wherever they can with the ban extending to all football.
He said: “We’ve got to try and keep him right, in terms of his whole demeanour, mentally and physically. He is missing a lot of football. he is just making his way in the game, we think it’s a severe ban – I personally do although other people might not think that.
“Tell me anybody that’s not made a mistake in football. We know he made a mistake, we’re disappointed in the length of the ban and we have to make sure we’re there for him.”
Hartley added: “He’s just got to train as hard as he can. He is going to miss it and he’s not a bad kid, he’s not a bad lad. Anybody that knows him, he is a good boy, something happened that he regrets and we have to make sure he is okay mentally.
“He’s had his punishment, as a club we’ll be there for him and as a manager we’ll be there for him.”
The Falkirk Herald understands that since the incident, the 19-year-old has made attempts to apologise to the Northern Ireland international over his abuse and gesture.