Bairns seal semi-final spot after penalty shootout

Stewart Murdoch scored the winning penalty
Stewart Murdoch scored the winning penalty

Falkirk are heading to Hampden after a dramatic penalty shoot-out win over Dundee United at Tannadice tonight.

They have booked a spot in the semi-final of the Scottish Communities League cup after a remarkable ending to the 2-2 draw that included goals from Farid El Alagui and Ally Graham.

Injury doubt Tam Scobbie did not make the match, and Mark Millar also sat out with suspension alongside Rhys Bennett.

Jay Fulton took Millar’s spot in central midfield while Blair Alston was drafted into the team from the bench. Stephen Kingsley was Scobbie’s replacement.

Falkirk immediately showed they were up for the challenge and both Willo Flood and Lauri Dalla Valle came off worse in early sparring with El Alagui and Stewart Murdoch.

However, they were soon under pressure and McGovern was called into action as United sought to end their dismal run of late.

Dalla Valle’s header was tipped over, Jon Daly hit the post and, shortly before the interval Stephen Kingsley did his goalkeeper a favour by heading clear Scott Robertson’s shot.

After the break it was more of the same pressure, with a thunderous strike by Robertson deflected wide by Dods and the resultant set-piece blasted over by Barry Douglas,

The match dangled on the precipice for long periods for Falkirk, but still they held out as 60 minutes turned to 70.

Steven Pressley freshened the side replacing Blair Alston for Dale Fulton.

It immediately paid dividends. An overhit cross by Duffie was seized by the sub and his cross was inch-perfect. Farid El Alagui has headed harder balls into the net and he took the chance to notch his 15th goal in 16 games.

The Moroccan’s strike sparked the game to life and, shortly after, Johnny Russell equalised.

With 80 seconds remaining another great cross by Fulton was glanced at goal by David Weatherston, but Pernis showed a safe pair of hands to send the game into extra-time.

In the additional minutes, Daly drew McGovern off his line and slipped the ball into the net to give United the lead.

However, sub Graham ran on to a long goal kick and fired home to send the game into penalties, but not before McGovern scooped a Gavin Gunning effort off the line.

Steven Pressley gave a roaring battle cry and sent his team in to the centre circle.

Every player scored from the spot, bar Willo Flood for Dundee United - with Stewart Murdoch hitting the winning penalty, after previous successful efforts from Weatherston, El Alagui, Higginbotham and Fulton.