Sports Editor David Oliver looks back on Saturday’s 1-1 draw between Falkirk and Dundee United – where the Bairns found their voice again.
Almost as important as the hope that he’s given the club, Ray McKinnon has restored something equally as important to the Falkirk support – their voice.
The roar that met the final 15 minutes on Saturday, and particularly the reaction to Ciaran McKenna’s headed equaliser and the aftermath was one made of memories.
MATCH REPORT: Falkirk 1 Dundee United 1
Back to days of close-run play-off matches, epic nights under the lights against some illustrious names and games on TV where the atmosphere crackled.
That’s not to say that the Bairns backing hasn’t been there in the interm, by goodness it has – almost unflailingly so, but that short spell was a throwback.
The two go hand-in-hand. With additional hope comes a louder support, and as this unbeaten run continues into a third month both are on the increase.
AS IT HAPPENED: Matchday Blog
Ray McKinnon is often keen to set reminders of just where Falkirk have come from this season. Saturday was no exception.
A marker of his ssides have been their ability to comeback from blows which otherwise would have overwhelmed the Bairns.
A goal against at Alloa, going behind to Partick Thistle at Firhill, switching off and losing the opener in this one, at home to Dundee United.
Something has been salvaged in each.
Even if at times, Saturday’s point did look unlikely.
YOUR SAY: Fans’ Views
The final 15 minutes may mask it, but Dundee United looked pretty good for their win early in the second half, and Falkirk, for the first time in a while looked a little shaken.
But that knack of dusting themselves down and rescuing a situation returned, and with it, does the hope and unwavering backing from the support.
Attacking football will do it too, and Ray McKinnon had a go at his former club with Zak Rudden backed by the craft of Davis Keillor-Dunn, falnked by Demi Petravicius’ pace and complemented by Mark Waddington’s power on the opposite side.
MATCH GALLERY: Moments That Mattered
It matched United, maybe a little too well, and the first half was fairly non-descript.
A rare defensive lapse from Harry Burgoyne and his back-line allowed Cammy Smith to tap-in the opener after a bright opening to the second half for the Tangerines, and for a while Falkirk wobbled as United sought more.
But there’s enough charcater, fight and ability in the ranks now to salvage these situations.
PLAYER PROFILE: Paul Paton
Paul Paton, revitalised since his Christmas re-boot which began after an angry red card against his former club, contested a drop ball with eight minutes to go and the noise gradually ramping up. A subsequent foul allowed Ian McShane to float a free-kick onto the head of Ciaran McKenna for the equaliser, and cue bedlam and the sort of audio boom that’s been a long time coming.
The confidence is returning, the volume is too, and the TV cameras are back over the coming weeks too. So performances like these, and the confidence to back them up is right on cue.IN QUOTES: Ray McKinnon and Robbie Neilson