Bairns boss: ‘This is the real thing’

Paul Hartley starts his first full league campaign with Falkirk tomorrow. Picture: Michael Gillen
Paul Hartley starts his first full league campaign with Falkirk tomorrow. Picture: Michael Gillen

Starting tomorrow, Paul Hartley is tasked with moulding 15 individuals and a handful of existing players into a team unit worthy of winning promotion from the Ladbrokes SPFL Championship.

The Falkirk boss admits the changes have been seismic around Westfield over the summer months, but it’s what happens on the field – down Stadium Way and at nine other venues across the country – that matters.

Hartley said: “We’re excited about it and looking forward to it. There has been a lot of change to the club and hopefully we’re well prepared for the start. It’s a key for us to make a good start. This is an unbelievably hard league this year, a challenging league and we’ve got to show our preparations were right for it.”

The final preparatory piece, according to Hartley, was in place on Tuesday when Andrew Irving signed on loan from Hearts. The recruitment drive over, team bonding continues but “you can do as much bonding off the pitch as you like, it’s the understanding on the pitch that matters for us,” the boss added.

“The games so far have been different. You try to give everyone time, for us it’s been the case from pre-season through the Betfred Cup - we need to be on it on Saturday. This is the real stuff now against Inverness.”

Paul Paton was rested at the weekend with an achilles concern but will be in contention. Dylan Mackin was ill on Wednesday but is expected to return.