He’s watched on as his contemporaries have moved on to lucrative deals with Premier League and Championship sides down south.
Jay Fulton and Stephen Kingsley headed to Swansea, Conor McGrandles went to Norwich, before them, Scott Arfield headed to Huddersfield and Ryan Flynn went to Sheffield United.
Of course I am looking for more. I am always looking to get better. I scored the most goals the previous year and I just really enjoyed itCraig Sibbald
All the while, Craig Sibbald watched them pack their bags while continuing to hone his craft at Falkirk. Now, after a break-out season last term he’s being tipped as the next hot prospect to make the move south.
But the 20-year-old is doing tipping of his own, for another colleague who had a break-out season – he reckons Will Vaulks could be a contender for the coveted Falkirk Herald Starshot trophy next season!
Vaulks has twice been runner-up, first to last year’s winner Rory Loy and this year to his best mate in football, Craig. And Sibbald sees no reason why the defensive midfielder, a particular stand-out in the Scottish Cup final, can’t win it himself. But he’ll be doing his bit to retain the award too.
The midfielder, who scored the winner in the semi-final against Hibs told The Falkirk Herald: “ Will was playing the most games he had ever done last season and he was doing well. He could be a contender for this trophy next year – he has been each year he’s been playing for Falkirk. He is like all of us and looking to kick on and build on last season.”
Both Vaulks and Sibbald are as thick as thieves and the Englishman was forced to watch on as Sibbald picked up the award on a visit to The Falkirk Herald offices in Grangemouth.
He wasn’t far away, and won’t be far away again if the Bairns all stay together in Peter Houston’s squad.
They reconvene on Monday for a ‘testing’ first day of pre-season training and Sibbald is raring to go.
“I’ve been going runs since I got home from Magaluf, and that should get me ready to hit the ground running at the pre-season too.
“I don’t think many players don’t keep some sort of fitness work up over the summer now.
“I’ve been getting re-acclimatised with being back in Scotland and going down to the gym at Grangemouth Stadium to do some work to keep myself going. I think it’s something you’ve got to do to make the most of the training when we get back together., and have the best start possible.”
Sibbald though has set the standard high after last season’s heroics.
There have been banners and chants of ‘He’s One of Our Own’, being as he is a Bairn born and bred who grew up watching Russell Latapy from the terraces
Latapy did manage to take the coveted trophy one season, but plenty of Bairns fan favourites haven’t managed it – Farid El Alagui couldn’t. Lyle Taylor didn’t.
“I’ve got all the awards on the mantlepiece in the living room,” explained Sibbald who lives with his parents and one of his two brothers on his dad’s farm.
That mantlepiece became a busy place towards the end of last season with a plethora of awards for the 20-year-old. As well as Starshot he claimed a clean sweep of awards at the Falkirk FC gala night in May and took home various supporters’ player of the year awards from around the district.
“It’s great to get an award and it obviously means a lot to be rated over the season and to come out on top.
“I was pleased with my season – and pleased when I saw myself getting three stars in the paper too – and I felt I had my best year yet.
“Of course I am looking for more. I am always looking to get better. I scored the most goals the previous year and I just really enjoyed it.
“We had big teams in the league with Hearts, Rangers and Hibs and obviously they brought some good players to play against and that’s what you look for as a player to test yourself against the best you can.
“So it means even more when you are getting rewarded for performances against good quality opposition.
“Last season went well. The disappointment was obviously not getting to the play-offs but the Scottish Cup final was brilliant – we were so close and I think we were unlucky
“If we had had a fit Rory Loy for the end of the season I think we could have reached the play-offs and who knows what could’ve happened at Hampden.
“We’ve all had a taste of it and are looking to kick on and have an improved season next year, and that’s what we’ll start to do on Monday.”