Falkirk stun Saints to stay on track for play-offs

Craig Sibbald scores Falkirk's opener
Craig Sibbald scores Falkirk's opener

Falkirk provided a Hallowe’en treat to savour with a 3-0 win over St Mirren which it places their side comfortably into the play-off places.

In the early stages, it looked as if it would be the visitors who would make the breakthrough, and a Gallagher header gave warning of their intent. Grant replied with a similar effort at the other end, and the openness of the first quarter was a welcome attraction.

Falkirk opened the scoring after 18 minutes through Craig Sibbald who beat an exposed Langfield when he headed home a chip to the back post from John Baird.

Neutrals might have felt it was somewhat against the run of play, but last week’s hat-trick hero Baird was full of confidence and causing all sorts of problems to the visitors’ rearguard.

While Saints had the advantage in terms of possession, there was no denying that Falkirk used their share to better effect and looked solid at the back.

Falkirk soaked up some Saints pressure and successfully defended a series of corners, before delivering a killer blow two minutes before the break, Baird scoring after a Vaulks cross found him in acres of space, with the Saints defence missing the injured Webster, before beating Langfield.

St.Mirren had enjoyed the majority of possession, but found themselves two down. It could have been worse, as McHugh had another chance just before the break, but shot tamely.

The old playground saying of “Next goal’s the winner” was never more appropriate than in this match. St.Mirren knew this and the introduction of McMullan for Howieson certainly gave them more of a cutting edge.

Mallan almost scored with an audacious effort from just inside the Falkirk half when he saw Rogers off his line.

Agnew was next to give the away fans something to cheer and Falkirk looked to be on the back foot.

Referee Aiken became a figure of some controversy with his brandishing of cards, but there was a big debate over his 7th red card of this season. Jack Baird handled the ball when he blocked McHugh’s chance of a breakaway. It was clearly a hand ball, but many would have debated the colour of the card which the official produced, after consulting his assistant.

Saints had to re-jig their defence and Falkirk sensed a major chance to kill off one of the pre-season favourites for a play-off place.

Vaulks hit a great effort into the side netting before getting the third and final strike with an absolute screamer, firing in an unstoppable long-range thunderbolt that stunned Langfield.

Falkirk were home and hosed and the league table looked much better for The Bairns than it did for The Saints. This was a classic example of what really matters in terms of match statistics. Possession, corners, shots, shots on target- are all very well, but what really matters is goals scored and Falkirk gave Saints an object lesson in this aspect.