Craigen: This hurts more than Raith did

James Craigen opened the scoring at Falkirk, having equalised at Tannadice a few days earlier. Pic by Craig Halkett.
James Craigen opened the scoring at Falkirk, having equalised at Tannadice a few days earlier. Pic by Craig Halkett.

James Craigen tasted play-off defeat for the second consecutive year in his first term at Falkirk.

Defeated by Hibs while at previous club Raith Rovers in last year’s quarter final, Craigen saw two games dash his promotion hopes a second time in Friday night’s defeat to Dundee United at the semi-final stage.

James Craigen. Picture by Michael Gillen.

James Craigen. Picture by Michael Gillen.

Yet the midfielder had been the stand-out for Falkirk over both legs against the Tangerines, scoring twice in the play-offs to add to his strike in the regular season against old boss Ray McKinnon.

“I’m pleased with my own performance over the two legs but when it comes down to it that doesn’t matter – I’d rather the team went through at the end. The team is the most important thing and I’d have much rathered we went through a nd got to the final with a real chance to go up.

“This is worse than Raith Rovers last year. We had a real good chance this year and have some good players. We showed in the first half we were passing the ball around nicely and there was one team wanting to play, but we’ve let it slip and they’ve gone up and scored two in the last 20 minutes.”

“It’s just a massive disappointment, all the lads are gutted.

DOn’t think we deserved it and we were the better team over the two legs yet they’ve still gone through.

Everyone’s just so down as you can imagine. We put so much into the season, throughout the whole season, then two play-off games and then, we’ve been knocked out.

“Not much was said after the game, it was a fairly silent dressing room after the game. Everyone’s just gutted.”

It had been a stop-start season for Craigen but he showed his quality when the time was right in the play-offs, used well by Peter Houston just behind the strikers. It paid off in gaols, but as the ex-Partick Thistle man said, they were fruitless.

“The diamond formation did suit me a bit better, I feel move effective playing behind the strikers and I can get into the box and try to score some goals which I’ve done. That suits me but it’s just devastating how it’s turned out.

We’ll have some time off and rest up ready for the next season. That has come earlier than we’d hoped and (Friday) was just a disappointing night.– everyone’s so low.

“The last two games have had a great response from the fans – they’ve been brilliant all season and just hope they stick with us throughout the next season too and come back and support us again.”