Is Tommy Robson the secret to Falkirk’s survival?

Tommy Robson. Picture Michael Gillen.
Tommy Robson. Picture Michael Gillen.

Sports Editor David Oliver looks at why the fan favourite might just be the man to salvage the Bairns season.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man, cometh Tommy Robson?

Tommy Robson. Picture Michael Gillen.

Tommy Robson. Picture Michael Gillen.

The left back has been a peripheral figure all season, omitted by Paul Hartley and then used fleetingly by Ray McKinnon and then displaced by Paul Dixon.

Yet he’s still a HUGE fan favourite.

But now, with four games to go it’s looking like the time is right for Robson to be selected and help keep Falkirk in the division.

And here’s why.

Tommy Robson. Picture Michael Gillen.

Tommy Robson. Picture Michael Gillen.

Selection problems

Robson hasn’t played as much as he should have this season.

First he was left out by Paul Hartley despite doing a right turn for the former Bairns boss in the second half of last season.

Then he was restored by Ray McKinnon and used a little higher up the park too, until Paul Dixon was recruited.

Tommy Robson. Picture Michael Gillen.

Tommy Robson. Picture Michael Gillen.

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Dixon has been an excellent steady influence on he Bairns and it’s tough on Robson that he’s good in his very position.

But with William Edjenguele ineligible against parent club Dundee United, in a game that should be meaningless for he home side by the time it comes around, Robson can fill in. He can take the left defensive role, and Dixon can move in one and support Ciaran McKenna as The Edge would have been doing.

Likewise the last game of the regular season Davis Keillor-Dunn is in a similar predicament to Big Willie. A shift in attacking order and Robson could easily fit on there left of the midfield and swing in a cross as his terrace song celebrates. And Robson could even slot in behind the striker(s). Like Luke Leahy before him the left back began his football career in the pocket behind the strikers so he knows the role, even if he’s not played it for a long time and maybe a bit slight for it now.

There’s a minimum of two games he could and should be involved in by simple logistics. But there’s more...

Form

When Robson was signed and played Falkirk’s form noticeably improved last year. Maybe it was Alex Jakubiak though, or Andy Nelson, but maybe it was Robson or a combination of all three.

Regardless there was a turn for the better.

This season he’s been in and out of the team in a god awful set of results that will be looked upon with a wince and a shudder in years to come.

But Robson HASN’T suffered as badly. He’s only lost TWICE in the league since the start of November in games he’s been involved in. That’s quite a stat in a season of misery such as this.

Not picked much by Paul Hartley - not much success for the former manager.

When he’s been picked by Ray McKinnon since his stamp was put on the team, the Bairns have done pretty well.

Maybe it’s the games he’s been selected for but look through the former Sunderland man’s results this season and last - there’s a healthier win rate with him than without.

READ MORE: Falkirk managers ranked by win-rate

Passion

This is not an attribute exclusive to Robson. A lot of the players love Falkirk and care. Some who have left didn’t appear to but Robson, when you see pictures of him like the one at the top of this page taken by Michael Gillen the last time the Bairns went to East End Park – the last time they won there too, tells its own story doesn’t it? If there is a time for passion and fight to be shown, it’s now. He won’t be alone, but will it be enough?

READ MORE: 13 players who have starred for Falkirk and Dunfermline

Fans

And of course selecting the fan favourite would appease the pressure on Ray McKinnon, just a jot. There’s a disparity between his opinion of the tactics employed by the team and those the fans think are being played and that’s led to a bit of discord over recent weeks.

Restoring their favourite to the long suffering support will at least give them a little smile even for a second, and they can sing that catchy tune again and begin to roar the team on to safety.

READ MORE: Falkirk favourites for the drop