Hearts 4 Falkirk 1: Bairns outclassed

Rory Loy of Falkirk
Rory Loy of Falkirk
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Falkirk were outplayed as Hearts ran wild knocking four past Jamie MacDonald, who produced some fantastic saves to keep the score from being much worse.

Even a Botti Biabi consolation goal couldn’t hide the fact that Hearts were the more dominant side.

Falkirk made three changes from the starting line up that faced Cowenbeath on Tuesday with Rory Loy, David McCracken and Alan Maybury all coming back into the side at the expense of Botti Biabi, Peter Grant and Liam Rowan who dropped to the bench. Hearts made eight changes to the side that beat Stenhousemuir on Tuesday.

The home side looked more comfortable on the ball and frequently found time and space in the Barins half and tested MacDonald more than the Falkirk fans would have liked. A double from Billy King as well as a header from Kevin McHattie gave Hearts a well deserved 3-0 half time lead before Osman Sow added a fourth with twelve minutes remaining. Falkirk couldn’t capitalise on the straight red card of Prince Buaben, for a shocking foul on Ollie Durojaiye.

Despite a strong initial 20 minutes, the first goal knocked the wind out of Falkirk’s sails. Vaulks had been involved in a clash of heads and groggily came back onto the pitch as the corner was taken. Hearts took advantage with Jordan McGhee out jumping the defence to knock the ball beyond MacDonald.

While Falkirk tried to recover and pass the ball around the team, Hearts pushed on and put lots of pressure on the Bairns. With the pressure building and the effects of a fast paced first twenty minutes taking it’s toll, Hearts doubled their tally. A deep ball into the corner was well controlled by Billy King before taking the ball past Alan Maybury. The defender could only pull the attacker back in an attempt to stop him, leaving referee Kevin Clancy no option but to point to the spot. Hearts top goal scorer James Keatings stepped up, only to see MacDonald make a fine stop. The ball rebounded to Keatings, who was denied again before King slotted the ball into the net for his first goal of the season.

Hearts were showing their dominance, finding space in between the Falkirk defence with ease. The Bairns defence weren’t helping themselves, making clumsy errors handing the ball to Hearts. MacDonald was kept busy with Keatings and McGhee having two chances denied by the keeper. A third was always on the cards and it came with seven minutes of the half remaining. Falkirk were caught on the break, with Vaulks high up the field taking a throw in. King nodded in for his second of the game after the defence were completely stretched.

Seconds later, Osman Sow almost added a fourth after Falkirk gave the ball away from the restart. He rounded MacDonald before hitting the side netting. Falkirk had little chances of note in the first half, struggling to break down the well organised Hearts defence. The best chance of the half came from Blair Alston, with his free kick just missing the outside of the post.

The second half was more level but Hearts always looked more dangerous, cutting through the Falkirk defence with ease at times. Even with the man advantage, Falkirk couldn’t get through the defence. Prince Buaben was sent off for a poor tackle on Durojayie in the centre of the park, which caused some concern for the bench. Alston had the best two chances before the goal, one with his head and one being fired high over the bar, from inside the box. MacDonald was kept just as busy, producing fantastic saves from Nicholson and Keatings.

Biabi managed to get his third goal of the campaign with seven minutes remaining after heading the ball past Jack Hamilton, who rarely looked troubled thoughout the game.