BENCHMAN: It’s time for TMO

BENCHMAN: Who is this mystery man?
BENCHMAN: Who is this mystery man?

After a dodgy offside call cost Falkirk a second goal, our man in the stand has decided it’s time for a touchline TV judge.


Bewildered Paisley stewards were asking the Falkirk fans why the turn-out was so low. Always a good clash between two teams who not that long ago were top flight sides, but why were there only 2,334 supporters there? It doesn’t take an Einstein to work out the answer. Try ridiculous kick-off time and over-priced admission for a start. Add in a home team with no manager and poor form.


How did we not win that one? Well in control, plenty of possession and opponents who looked edgy. Then a late goal to leave supporters heading for the exits wondering how that had happened. Last week Ayr fans - this week Falkirk fans.


Jamie Langfield fell to the ground. Almost immediately referee John Beaton blew for a “foul” and so denied Falkirk a goal-scoring opportunity. Was the keeper tripped, kicked, barged or otherwise impeded? No- he had merely slipped. Nobody near him. When will we get these fourth officials to take on a meaningful TMO role instead of parading about with time-boards just for the benefits of TV?


When news came through that the A76 had been closed near Kilmarnock, few of us could have expected the reason for the warning. Every football fan, but especially those who travel by supporters bus, must have been deeply stunned. All sympathy goes to the families of those injured, and condolences to the family of the supporter who lost his life. A sad day.


Last week’s mystery player was Frank Swift, who famously once turned out at Brockville in a Hamilton Accies side. Falkirk’s opponents in that first televised floodlit game were Newcastle United.


Who did Kevin Drinkell sign for after he left Brockville?


What a week of scandals for the Beautiful Game.Was it ever thus? Falkirk had their own scandal back in 1935, when manager Robert Orr was banned for life after bribing Ayr United’s Robert Russell. He offered Russell £3 and threatened that he might lose his job at Alexander’s if he played in a vital relegation battle between the clubs. Russell confessed after the game, which was replayed, and was fined £10.


Older Bairns fans will wonder what has happened to Coventry City. When Falkirk faced them in the Texaco Cup back in 1971, they were a top side. Established in the old English First Division, they were the innovators and trend-setters. Manager Jimmy Hill had set them up and they pioneered many of the marketing and commercial features that are today taken for granted. They were FA Cup winners, played in European competition and looked well set when they moved into their new Ricoh Arena stadium. Now they are in a bad, bad way. Tony Mowbray threw in the towel after 18 months, and supporters were almost giving up. Sad to see.


Match rating: 7

Team rating: 8


Referee: Beaton 5

Best Bairn: Luca Gasparotto