Peter Houston does not fear the sack as Falkirk manager and has the belief the squad at his disposal can turn the season around.
The Bairns are languishing joint bottom of the SPFL Championship having taken just two points from a possible 15 and face pre-season title favourites Dundee United at Westfield on Saturday.
It’s a tall order at the best of times but Houston reckons the big match atmosphere could buoy the team who were booed off at Brechin.
“Maybe playing United will be a good thing. A good atmosphere, big crowd from Dundee and hopefully the same from Falkirk. Hopefully we can get this monkey off our back.”
The Bairns start to the season has not lived up to expectations. Injuries and suspensions have struck but below-par performances have severely hindered the campaign. Fans have called for change at various levels within the club, but Houston doesn’t fear for his own job safety - because of that belief that the team can turn things around.
“I’m not anxious or panicking in any way because I believe in the players, but I understand the fans’ point of view.
“It is up to me and the boys to try to sort that. We deserve time to sort it.
“I have no fear of my position. I have been in this job long enough not to worry about that side of it, but I don’t sense directors worried or panicking about it because they’ve seen the club change and challenge for promotion from a tough league and cup finals.
“I feel I have 100 per cent backing from Margaret and the board because we talk regularly. We’re going through a rocky stage for the first time in three and a half years that has happened since I’ve come here.
“Fans’ expectations have not lowered. The budget has come down from last year, but the expectations have not.
“I understand the second half at Brechin - I’d have been booing as well. I can take criticism when it’s merited, and it has been. It’s part and parcel of being a football manager.
“We take it on board but we want to work it out and turn it round.
Fans will have access to the new bar in the south stand pre-match (see page 87), which may give reason to cheer off the park, but on it Houston’s selections have been hampered by injuries and suspensions as well as loss of form.
“I take full responsibility, and always will, but I think the players who do come in for the suspensions and injuries we’ve had should be doing better. Simple as that.
“Players have been taken out the team for a loss of form, but then have been put back into the team quickly because the ones who have come in for them, have not been doing well. We’ve lost players to injury that would affect any Championship team.
“There are some who have lost confidence and I am still searching for why. But I have full belief in the squad we have here and that we can turn things around.
“I can’t show anxiety, we’ve got to make sure we know we are all in it together. It’s a terrific bunch – and right good players too – but we’ve forgotten how to kill games, and win games.
“It’s not like them, over the last three years they’ve won games unexpectedly and killed teams when needed. That now has to change.
“I’m not silly enough to think different. We have to start winning football matches.”