Falkirk fell to a 1-0 defeat at Tannadice against Dundee United on Saturday, with the Bairns now almost certain to finish eighth in the Championship.
Thomas Mikelsen’s seventh minute goal after a defensive mix up was enough as Paul Hartley’s side struggled to create too many clear openings throughout the match.
United came out of the blocks the quicker of the two sides, with Willo Flood’s high effort the first of the match.
And the hosts took the lead on seven minutes. Robbie Thomson played a powerful pass in the direction of Jordan McGhee who failed to control the ball, allowing Willo Flood to square for Thomas Mikelsen to open the scoring.
Grant Gillespie went close to doubling the lead on 11 minutes when he picked the ball up in the midfield and drove at the Bairns defence before firing just wide of the right-hand post.
After that, Falkirk looked reasonably comfortable until the break. The ball didn’t quite fall for Jordan McGhee on 15 minutes after United failed to deal with a corner.
Good interplay between Craig Sibbald and Louis Longridge on 25 minutes allowed the latter a chance, but his tame shot was cleared.
Dundee United had two half chances before the half-time whistle, first when Mikelsen back heeled for Paul McMullan who’s fierce shot was tipped over by Thomson on 30 minutes.
Mikelsen was involved again for the second chance, playing an inch perfect pass out right to Billy King who fired into the side netting from a tight angle.
Into the second half and United had the first chance on 50 minutes. The lively Paul McMullan took on all comers and the home crowd were appealing for a penalty when Scott McDonald went down whilst trying to get on the end of the winger’s cross. Nothing was given by referee Craig Thomson.
On 56 minutes, a big opportunity for the Bairns. Grant Gillespie was caught on the ball but Alex Jakubiak’s effort from just inside the box whistled past the left hand post.
That sparked Csaba Laszlo’s United into gear momentarily as McMullan’s back heel found Scott McDonald who tamely found the arms of Robbie Thomson.
Falkirk’s biggest chance came on 78 minutes. Matthew Smith, on the field for less than 60 seconds, placed a very short back pass which Louis Longridge latched onto, but the midfielder was denied by Deniz Mehmet in the United goals and failed to convert the follow up.
Paul McMullan, once again at the centre of things for the Tangerines, cut inside and dragged a shot narrowly wide as the game entered the last ten minutes.
That proved to be the last action as Falkirk fell to a narrow defeat which almost ensures the club will finish the season in 8th place in the Championship. With three games remaining, the gap to Queen of the South above and Dumbarton below stands at eight points.