Cove Rangers 1 Falkirk 3 : Progress for Paul Hartley

Alex Jakubiak put the Bairns ahead. Picture Michael Gillen
Alex Jakubiak put the Bairns ahead. Picture Michael Gillen

Falkirk are in the quarter finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup after seeing off Cove Rangers - eventually.

It was a bit of a struggle for the Bairns on an awful pitch at Harlaw Park, Inverurie against the in-form Highland league leaders.

The start was perfect for the Bairns - but the rest of the first half wasnt. Picture Michael Gillen.

The start was perfect for the Bairns - but the rest of the first half wasnt. Picture Michael Gillen.

And the first half was exactly that for Paul Hartley’s side before two second half goals ensured their safe progress and gave the away support’s fingernails some respite, because they’d been chewing them for most of the first half.

The Bairns were not messing about in the opening stages, Lewis Kidd closed down Cove left-back Alan Redford to win possession and crossed for Alex Jakubiak to tap in.

On that note it was a good start. It was all downhill from there. In fact almost immediately to the half-time whistle.

Ryan Stott on the left got the better of Muirhead and swung a cross in that Mitch Megginson wrestled to the wrong side of Paul Watson before firing past Conor Hazard on the half-volley for an swift response.

More than 750 Bairns made the trip north. Picture Michael Gillen.

More than 750 Bairns made the trip north. Picture Michael Gillen.

On a tight pitch which gave way underfoot, the Bairns were toiling. The ball was seeing much air time and from the previous instance of that happening - against Livingston - that was bad news for Falkirk.

Passes went astray, long balls were going too long, defensive panic beset the Bairns and all the while Mitch Megginson was threatening to race beyond the back line and add to his strike.

Falkirk nearly gave him a helping hand though. Reghan Tumilty blocked a long ball and it deflected towards Falkirk’s goal. Paul Watson moved to nod back to Conor Hazard but the keeper had already rushed out to collect. The ball skidded past him but the big Celtic keeper recovered - just - to stop the ball crossing the line. The Cove bench, forever in the linesman’s ear, thought it was over.

The Bairns barely threatened and Rory Loy cut a frustrated figure up top, while goal scorer Jakubiak got little change from the play going on around him.

Falkirk are in the draw tomorrow. Picture Michael Gillen.

Falkirk are in the draw tomorrow. Picture Michael Gillen.

Indeed it was Cove who looked more likely to build upon their goal, not the Championship side.

Hazard held a shot from Milne and then had to push an audacious 40-yard free kick from Jamie Masson out with the last kick of the first half.

The first few of the second though put a different complexion on the match. Within seconds of the restart the Bairns were 3-1 up and comfortable. They got the ball down and passed and took confident control of a game Cove had been in charge of.

Reghan Tumilty did well to keep the ball in play on the right and crossed into the box. Craig Sibbald arrived late in the box and slammed in the go-ahead goal just three minutes after the restart.

Falkirk fans didnt stop singing throughout the match. Picture Michael Gillen

Falkirk fans didnt stop singing throughout the match. Picture Michael Gillen

Moments later it was 3-1 with Falkirk homing in on the ball as soon as Mitch Megginson restarted the game and Rory Loy playing the ball through the middle and Alex Jakubiak tucked in the goal to ease a lot of worries among the away delegation.

The remainder was fairly comfortable then for the Bairns after the first-half nerves. Cove were a stern test and made the Bairns continue to work, but with a two-goal cushion, confidence restored and the Bairns playing more like themselves, it was all over.

Rory Loy glanced a header just by the post with ten minutes to go then was booked for simulation in the 90th minute - much to his protests - but by then Falkirk were safe and sound and 90 minutes from Hampden despite the four minutes of added time played by Alan Muir.