Falkirk 1 St Mirren 0: Winning send off for Smith

Alex Smith led the teams out. Picture Michael Gillen.
Alex Smith led the teams out. Picture Michael Gillen.

Falkirk's season to forget ended with a wonder strike from Ryan Blair to defeat the league champions for a second time this season.

It had been a non descript afternoon at Westfield, more memorable for what the afternoon represented off the field than it did on it with Alex Smith's impending departure and sign off from Falkirk and Scottish football.

Tommy Robson. Picture Michael Gillen.

Tommy Robson. Picture Michael Gillen.

But Ryan Blair's 86th minute strike was memorable in itself, and the on-loan Swansea City midfielder fizzed the ball off the post from 30 yards and into the net in front of the south stand.

What had been hoped as a title party 10 months ago was indeed that - but for the visitors. It was a special occasion nonetheless as both the Saints and Falkirk said goodbye to Alex Smith who leaves Scottish football to spend his retirement in Australia.

But as a match it had that very end of season feeling to it.

The Saints fans partied, Falkirk saw the season off.

Stephen Finnie took control of his final league game as a referee. Picture Michael Gillen.

Stephen Finnie took control of his final league game as a referee. Picture Michael Gillen.

Neither side can claim to have truly threatened, Bairns goalkeeper Robbie Mutch was slightly busier and made one excellent save from the one chance of the first half, flying across his goal to palm a rocket from Stelios Demitriou out after six minutes.

His opposite number, Craig Samson had a quiet opening first 45 minutes, with only a Peter Grant header going wide of his goal. Alex Jakubiak was well marshalled by the Saints defence and while he showed good footwork naturally the on-loan Watford man couldn't make an impact.

Grant was cautioned for a pull on Gavin Reilly by Stephen Finnie, and he too was involved in his last game - in the league at least - of Scottish football.

LEAGUE TABLE: SPFL Championship
The football wasn't up to much but the Saints fans made the atmosphere. They erupted when Stadium announcer Dave McIntosh asked for "Billy Abercrombie to report to the nearest steward", with chants from yesteryear - "Aber's going to get you". Theo Snelders, a guest of Alex Smith, looked on bemused.

Ryan Blair is on loan from Swansea. Picture Michael Gillen.

Ryan Blair is on loan from Swansea. Picture Michael Gillen.

The second half was more of the same, even Bairns captain and player of the month, Craig Sibbald, couldn't ignite the match from midfield and again Mutch had to come to the rescue with 20 minutes to go. Reilly's rocket from 30 yards was pushed round the post by the former Aberdeen youth.

He saw another free-kick from Lewis Morgan hit his side netting but then Mutch denied him himself, standing tall after Morgan zipped clear and shot straight at the Falkirkgoalkeeper.

Then sub Ryan Blair fizzed what would have been goal of the season had it been hit just a few weeks earlier in off the post from more than 30 yards.

Fitting that for a champion of Falkirk'sAcademy, Alex Smith was sent off with a victory by one of its final graduates.

Att: 5508 (1379 St Mirren)