Falkirk 3 Brechin 1: Bairns boost ahead of Cup trip

Rory Loy scored his first goal since his return.  Picture Michael Gillen.
Rory Loy scored his first goal since his return. Picture Michael Gillen.
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Falkirk moved within four points of Inverness with a comfortable win over bottom side Brechin.

Goals in the first half from Alex Jakubiak and Rory Loy were welcome return for a decent attacking performance from the Bairns before the break.

Alex Jakubiak scored his second in two games.  Picture Michael Gillen.

Alex Jakubiak scored his second in two games. Picture Michael Gillen.

Brechin are winless in the league, but they put a stern test in the second half and pulled one back through Dylan Mackin. Falkirk fans became restless with the game closer than it deserved to be but Louis Longridge eased their frustrations with a typically curled finish.

Paul Hartley had named a much-changed line-up with five swaps from the weekend defeat to Livingston and the changes bore fruit with an attacking display from the start.

Alex Jakubiak’s weekend goal gave him confidence and he added another, while Rory Loy completed 90 minutes and grabbed a first half goal.

It was all about the Bairns in the first half and the link-up play was at times unplayable.

Louis Longridge scored his typical curled finish.  Picture Michael Gillen.

Louis Longridge scored his typical curled finish. Picture Michael Gillen.

Early on Reghan Tumilty took the game to the Angus club, but soon all bar the three centre-halves were getting involved in the forward advances.

Graeme Smith was forced into two decent saves from Joe McKee and Loy before he punched away a deflected Louis Longridge effort on 12 minutes. The resultant corner wasn’t cleared and Alex Jakubiak got the final touch to bundle the Bairns ahead from close range.

Jakubiak was showing his fleet footwork and he laid on the second for the Bairns with a cross that his strike partner Loy couldn’t miss.

It’s a confidence boosting strike for the former Rangers, St Mirren and Carlisle forward and his first since making his return to the Bairns. Completing the entire game will also be a boost to both the player and Paul Hartley’s striking options.

Gordon Young was on the touchline for the Bairns.  Picture Michael Gillen.

Gordon Young was on the touchline for the Bairns. Picture Michael Gillen.

Scotland under-19 international Jakubiak was involved again for what should have been the third when he moved forward, played in Sibbald and his through ball was stepped over by Loy. Longridge received the pass and rounded goalkeeper Smith but couldn’t find space to shoot with Brechin crowding the line. A cross to Loy was knocked away and Brechin hung on in touch with the hosts.

Conor Hazard, the loan signing from Celtic was an assured and towering presence in the Falkirk goal showing safe handling when holding shots and gathering crosses, but he stood no chance when he was finally beaten by Dylan Mackin in the 66th minute after an improved second half showing from the visitors.

That began a spell where Brechin took hold of the game and the Falkirk support became restless as the visitors played keep ball. But Joe McKee seized possession in midfield, surged forward and played Louis Longridge in. The forward took his time before curling in the third and easing the nerves and securing the points.

Paul Hartley continued to ring the changes in the second half and made full use of his substitutions to give Kevin O’Hara, Tom Taiwo and Ryan Blair minutes.

Paul Hartley now takes his side north for the William Hill Scottish Cup on Saturday.  Picture Michael Gillen.

Paul Hartley now takes his side north for the William Hill Scottish Cup on Saturday. Picture Michael Gillen.

But the points were the main thing for the Bairns on a cold night and while the second half was not much to write home about, closing in on seventh place - and progress is the cup - is the ambition for the Bairns going through February.