Craig Sibbald has headed Falkirk into the Scottish Cup final with Celtic or Inverness.
The Bairns match-winner headed a 75th minute winner past Mark Oxley in a smash-and-grab victory for the Bairns.
They were battered by Hibs in the first half and hung on. The Edinburgh side hit the post, then hit the bar in the second half, then Sibbald struck.
With Rory Loy out – and still highly unlikely to make the final by the most recent prognosis – it was up to Sibbald to take centre stage, but he was almost upstaged by the opposition.
As early as the fourth minute Falkirk could have been conceivably behind. A cross from Dylan McGeouch was knocked away by David McCracken before El Alagui could head. the ball back to Jamie MacDonald was chested rather than gathered incase of a backpass and El Alagui, as he fell to the ground contorted his body to make contact this time, but MacDonald grbabed the ball
The best the Bairns could muster was a Will Vaulks drive from 25 yards, deflected for a corner.
Hibs hit the post through Fraser Fyvie and the ball fell nicely for Jamie MacDonald to gather. The Hibees pressed further and further forward and penned Falkirk harmlessly into their own half, and thought the Bairns had possession they were crowded out from doing much with it.
A change was needed, and Peter Houston made it, but it wasn’t the one the Falkirk fans expected. David Smith, who had shown flashes of really causing problems for Paul Hanlon and co, was replaced rather than Taylor Morgan who had had another ineffective spell in the Bairns attack. Botti Biabi was the replacement and partnered the big striker after a bout of mumps.
Falkirk stood and watched Hibs on the 63 minute after the defence was slicved open. Infact it was sliced and diced and left it taters as Hibs swarmed around MacDonald’s goal but couldn’t put it in the net. First McGeoch swung at fresh air, then clumsily bundled the ball to the by-line with the gaol gaping and crossed for Lewis Stevenson. Falkirk were still floundering when he blazed it at goal. But it flew high and wide.
You couldn’t begrudge the Hibee’s the opener after a dominant 15 minutes and it alsomst came when Craig Sibbald cheaply conceded possession in midfield and againthe Edinburgh side swept forward, but this time Jamie MacDonald was out sharp to gather.
Penalties, at this stage, looked a reasonable proposition.
Tom Taiwo was very harshly booked for a tackle on Fyvie and still Hibs came. Scott Allan rattled the crossbar then Robertson tested MacDonald from range but the keeper was safely behind it.
Still the Bairns hung on.
Sibbald charged forward on 69 minutes and laced a ball through to Alston with Luke Leahy screaming for a pass unmarked on the left, but it didn’t come. Hibs did though and Lewis Stevenson again was a threat but had a shot deflected into the side net by Kieran Duffie.
Then it happened. Some composed passing from the Bairns side to side, and a clever move by Kieran Duffie, winning a throw off Scott Allan and quickly taking it to release Blair Alston. The veteran in this meek Bairns team hit the by-line and crossed for who else but Craig Sibbald to nod the Bairns into the lead.
Morgan came off and Aaron Muirhead went on as Peter Houston aimed to retain this lead.Hibs on the other hand pitched Franck Djedje on for the previously booked Robertson.
Ten minutes passed by in a flash, and Falkirk were soon seeing out the game with five minutes to go, having been untroubled since the strike.
Jamie MacDonald defied former Falkirk hero Farid El Alagui with the final chance of the game, smothering a shot out for a corner with ten seconds of normal time to go.
Then after three further minutes the full-time whistle was blown by John Beaton, sparking the celebrations to begin in Falkirk, led in no small part by Will Vaulks and Luke Leahy’s leaping, before they all clustered round the goal hero.
The party can’t last too long though - the Bairns are coming back at the end of May.