Inverness 0 Falkirk 2: Bairns in driving seat in Betfred group

Nathan Austin puts Falkirk two up at Inverness (pic by Michael Gillen)
Nathan Austin puts Falkirk two up at Inverness (pic by Michael Gillen)

Falkirk gave their fans three for the price of one with a 2-0 success over Inverness CaleyThistle in the Highlands on Saturday.

Goals by Joe McKee and Nathan Austin put Peter Houston's side firmly in command in the group standings, moving them a point ahead of Inverness with a game in hand.

The win also gave Bairns a bit of revenge in the first meeting between the sides since the heartbreak of the 2016 Scottish Cup final.

And thirdly it laid down a marker against a side likely to be among Falkirk's main rivals in the push for promotion to the top flight in the months ahead.

Having opened the scoring against Stirling the previous week, Austin almost did it again when a fine flowing move fashioned an opening for the striker. But home keeper Mark Ridgers blocked with his feet and the ball rebounded to safety.

Myles Hippolyte was wide with an effort from 25 yards, but Falkirk's opener was only delayed until the 21st minute.

Alex Harris, a regular threat for Falkirk on the right, scampered past his man and Joe McKee showed the required determination to get to his centre ahead of the defence and comprehensively despatch the ball past Ridgers.

Bairns looked well in control and Ridgers had to make a rapid and lengthy trip from his goal to get to the ball ahead of Austin who had got himself in behind the home defence.

Former Bairn John Baird got on the end of a Colin Seedorf cross at the far post in the 42nd minute but his header was comfortably collected by Robbie Thomson.

And within a minute the home side were two down.

Ridgers made a hash of his clearance kick, sending the ball straight to Rory Loy and he fed Austin who coolly steered a left-foot finish beyond the home keeper.

After the break Inverness substitute George Oakley brought out a fine save from Thomson who hurled himself to his right to push away his volley.

Baird then had the ball in the net but his effort was disallowed for offside and Falkirk did what was required to see the game out and clam the points.