Candidates for Paul Hartley’s Falkirk job proves calibre of club

Falkirk chairman Margaret Lang. Picture Michael Gillen
Falkirk chairman Margaret Lang. Picture Michael Gillen

Falkirk chairman Margaret Lang was impressed by the would-be Bairns bosses bidding to replace Peter Houston.

The club opened applications after Houston, and assistants James McDonaugh and Alan Maybury, were sacked on September 24 and signed up Paul Hartley to lead the club for the next two and a half years.

Falkirk manager, Paul Hartley; Chairman, Margaret Lang and Technical Director, Alex Smith.

Falkirk manager, Paul Hartley; Chairman, Margaret Lang and Technical Director, Alex Smith.

They were inundated with bids to succeed the trio before opting for Hartley on Wednesday night, and though some were obvious time-wasters, there was a high standard of applicant according to Bairns supremo Lang.

She told The Falkirk Herald: “I was absolutely impressed with the applicants. That’s probably one thing I really didn’t know what to expect, we had over 40 applications to go through really and divided them ultimately between all the home countries and the rest of the world. We had some from Australia, Canada and South America.

“There were obviously a few where you just wouldn’t think about them but seriously, the quality was really interesting.

“Ultimately we had our own criteria and it was about paring it down to the ones who were absolutely ready to take us to the next stage we wanted to go to and Paul fitted the bill.

Paul Hartley will get to work on Monday. Picture Michael Gillen.

Paul Hartley will get to work on Monday. Picture Michael Gillen.

“It showed the status of this club. Maybe it’s something I’d never appreciated outwardly – because inwardly we all love our club and think it’s great – but the interest generated clearly shows that it is a club of interest to others and that is something which is really nice to hear.

“We spoke with several candidates and it’s only when you speak to people you see if they are part of, or are able to fit in, to what we are trying to achieve here.

“Paul definitely fitted the bill for us.

“He’s had the experience at Alloa, he’s managed lower league, Championship and the Premiership. That’s what we need, a depth of experience because clearly we need to be building to that and it’s got to be sustainable.

“He’s had three promotions in the past. We are obviously looking to help him achieve his fourth.”

For Lang the recruitment process was a step into the unknown, having only assumed the chairmanship full-time in the summer. Alex Smith helped oversee the search, and was delighted to land the new man who will succeed him after Saturday’s match with Dunfermline.

“I think it’s important to the club, that Paul takes over on Monday which leaves Alex in charge assisted by Lee, Mark and Michael McArdle to take Saturday’s game but I think for everyone we needed to have a manager in place. It’s a difficult point in the season and we really need to get focussed again.

“It was the first time in that scenario for me.

“It’s been difficult in many ways, as a new chairman and in my time even on the board, Peter had been our manager.

“I had, and have, huge regard for Peter not only as a manager but for the history he has at Falkirk anyway. So it was not pleasant for anyone that weekend.

“On the Monday coming in it felt strange not having him here, it was a big learning curve but you just have to get on with.”

Tickets for Saturday’s match are on sale until kick-off and are priced £10 and £5.