Benchman: Lucky number seven?

Recognise anyone in this week's mystery picture?
Recognise anyone in this week's mystery picture?

It’s 2017. Six decades since Falkirk’s Scottish Cup triumph, and 20 since the Neil Oliver controversy at Ibrox. Can the Bairns make it again?

STRANGE FEELING

It was quite sad coming into The Falkirk Stadium and not seeing George Johnson at his usual station. There was always a warm welcome and friendly greeting from the life-long Bairns fan, who was a genuinely nice guy. We’ll all miss him.

PICKING UP PACE

The race for the play-off places is intensifying. Morton are on song, and Queen of the South are starting to look more like the side that started the season so well. Falkirk will not be able to coast into one of the places on current showings. Last season’s form could have seen them as genuine title contenders, but this time around, it will take more to secure a place.

YEARS ENDING IN SEVEN

In 1957, Falkirk looked a side doomed to relegation and their first game in the Scottish Cup was at Shielfield, Berwick. They scraped through and as they say- the rest was history. Forty years later in 1997, they almost pulled off another sensational win, only to be denied by an over-exuberant linesman. Could 2017 be another special year?

HALF-HEARTED

Manager Peter Houston summed it up perfectly- why can’t they play like that for 90 minutes and not just 45? The second half was much more like it in terms of desire and commitment, but the opening period was poor stuff. Falkirk are giving away soft goals and are passing up some great chances. With Dundee United dropping two points, it was a great chance to close the gap.

HE WHO PAYS THE PAYET?

The Payet Affair questions the value of player’s contracts. West Ham and their manager Slaven Bilic must have been raging. Imagine that situation in other employments? Sorry sir, the doctor can’t see you today. He doesn’t fancy it.

JERUSALEM BAIRNS

The Senior Bairns have bought Scotland tops for kids in the Jeel Al Amal Boys Home in Bethany, near Jerusalem. Najwa Sahhar continues the work started by her parents. Adam McPhail from Grangemouth Probus Club is going out on a visit with colleagues and will hand the tops over.

GRAHAM TAYLOR

“There’s Only One Graham Taylor” was chanted at the Villa-Wolves game on Saturday night, and there was genuine respect for a decent, honest guy throughout the football world. I wonder how some feel now, having portrayed the likeable Taylor as a turnip-head?

WE’RE DOOMED, AH TELL YE

Blackburn and Coventry were in the top flight not that long ago, and both tasted European football but now look to be in a bad way. Notts County, founder members of the league, are facing the drop.

TEASER

From which club did Falkirk sign Scott Sloan?

ANSWERS

Last week’s picture showed Scotland players celebrating after a game against England. Included in the picture were Campbell Forsyth, Alex Hamilton, Davie Wilson, Alan Gilzean and Willie Henderson with possibly Jim Baxter, John White and Jim Kennedy.

BENCHMARKS

Match rating: 6

Team rating: 6

Opposition: 6

Referee: Madden 5

Best Bairn: Peter Grant