Hartley: ‘Best we’ve played’

Paul Hartley was pleased despite the Bairns not winning. Picture Michael Gillen.
Paul Hartley was pleased despite the Bairns not winning. Picture Michael Gillen.

Paul Hartley quoted Journey and told his players “Don’t Stop Believing” and they resonded with what the Bairns boss described as the best performance of the season.

In the dressing room 1-0 down at half-time, the Bairns were told to stay positive and to keep their discipline and got their reward by coming back from behind to take a point and it was almost three with Nathan Austin’s late header hitting the post against nine man Dunfermline.

Hartley said: “In the second half we dominated it.

“I know they went down to ten men, then nine but I still felt we started the second half really well and were really positive.

“We had some great play today and I think that’s the best performance of the season according to the guys in there.

“We’re getting there, we can see the intent on how we want to play. we had great speed today and young Dunne on the right was excellent.

Louis Longridge made his Falkirk debut. Picture Michael Gillen

Louis Longridge made his Falkirk debut. Picture Michael Gillen

“There were encouraging signs and Longridge had a great debut beside the experience of Miller up there. We defended really well.”

Dunfermline went ahead through a Kallum Higginbotham penalty after Cieran Dunne fouled Nicky Clark on the edge of the box, but the Bairns bounced back after half-time.

The boss added: “We gave away a sloppy goal but he’s a young kid, he’s raw, he’ll learn his trade but overall I’m really pleased.

“We told the players to keep believing because there wasn’t a lot in it and we were still in the game, and we showed in the second half how well we can play.

Jordan McGhee scored for the Bairns. Picture Michael Gillen

Jordan McGhee scored for the Bairns. Picture Michael Gillen

“We’re slowly and gradually getting there and that’s down to the hard work on the training ground. I’m pleased with it.

“We know we can compete against the top teams. We’ve shown it against St Mirren and Dunfermline and probably should have won both games.”

The sides have met three times this term with five red cards across the three meetings so far, and Hartley was delighted his side stayed intact as the Pars lost their cool – seeing forwards Higginbotham and Declan McManus red-carded for second bookable offences by ref Craig Thomson.

Hartley added: “I came to the last game and I know there’s previous because it’s a derby. But you’ve got to keep your composure and your calmness and coolness. That was the message through the whole week and before the game – don’t lose your discipline.

“It showed today, we were controlled. That was a pleasing thing.”