Kevin O’Hara made his return to Falkirk’s first team on Tuesday night – and his application and work-rate pleased boss Paul Hartley.
The attacker has been suspended since the start of November after being found guilty of excessive misconduct in a match against Dunfermline in October, and abusing Dean Shiels over his sight.
His eight-match ban ended on Saturday and the forward was pitched back into action in the Highland defeat by boss Paul Hartley two months to the day of his hearing. He buzzed around the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium with enthusiasm on a cold night, and it’s that sort of work-rate which his boss is looking for from the 19-year-old.
“He’s been away for a while in terms of not playing first team football,” said Paul Hartley. “So I think it was nice for him to get game time in terms of trying to stretch their team and us trying to change the shape of the team a little bit.
“We had to change things a bit. We thought he could run in behind them and get some minutes under his belt.”
There was no sign of rustiness in the forward after his lengthy period on the sidelines, and both he and midfielder Joe McKee, who was also suspended on the back of an incident during the Irn-Bru Cup win over the Pars, have been named on the bench.
Hartley added: “Kevin has been working really hard. It has been tough for him and he’s been through a tough period.
“He’s been out for a long time and that’s not easy, to pitch him straight back in tonight because we were running with quite a thin squad and we felt we would give him the opportunity.
“But one thing that he’s done is he’s worked hard and worked on his fitness so that when the time came he was ready.
“He’s done a lot of extra stuff so it was pleasing for him to get back involved in the group and in a game situation again.”
The Bairns were defeated 4-1 in the Highlands which disappointed after a sensational win over Dundee United.