MONDAY VERDICT: Bairns start season defining period with crucial win

29-09-2018. Picture Michael Gillen. ALLOA. Indodrill Stadium. Alloa Athletic v Falkirk FC. SPFL Championship, Scottish Championship, Ladbrokes Championship. Falkirk goal, Zak Rudden 19.
29-09-2018. Picture Michael Gillen. ALLOA. Indodrill Stadium. Alloa Athletic v Falkirk FC. SPFL Championship, Scottish Championship, Ladbrokes Championship. Falkirk goal, Zak Rudden 19.

In terms of this Championship season, wins won’t come much bigger than Falkirk’s 2-0 success over Alloa on Saturday.

The Bairns, rooted to the bottom of the table with no points going into the match, left Alloa joint on points with their hosts thanks to a double from Zak Rudden, on loan from Rangers.

Whilst Falkirk fans, who made up about half of the 1392 crowd at the Indodrill Stadium, would have expected to see their side win they might have been fearing the worst, given displays this season.

However, following on from signs of improvement in recent weeks, Falkirk turned up and produced a convincing performance to turn aside their part-time hosts.

And the performance, along with the three points, comes at such a crucial time.

Dunfermline’s 1-0 success against Partick Thistle on the Friday previous to the match had heaped even more pressure on Falkirk, ensuring they started the match eight points inside the bottom two.

And with Dunfermline visitors to The Falkirk Stadium for the derby next weekend, before a trip to Ray McKinnon’s former employers Greenock Morton, this was a must-win entering what will be three season defining fixtures.

Alloa looked bright but struggled to create anything, despite having a decent amount of the possession.

Zak Rudden grabbed his first senior goal at Somerset Park against Ayr United a couple of weeks ago, but said it “didn’t matter” after McKinnon’s side chucked away the two goal advantage they had amassed.

His flicked header on 25 minutes certainly did matter as he gave the Bairns a lead they wouldn’t surrender.

The 18-year-old almost doubled his tally immediately after a mix-up at the back, but his lob from 30 yards was nodded off the line and over the bar by Sam Roscoe.

Rudden did double his tally and his side’s advantage, with a strike from all of half a yard on 69 minutes.

Deimantas Petravicius lobbed Neil Parry in the Alloa goals, before Rudden bundled it home from on the goal-line – with his hand according to Alloa keeper Parry.

The travelling supporters didn’t care how it went in, but will have been pleased with young Rudden’s leading performance, and the general performance which was very competent.

McKinnon seems to have found himself a goal scorer, and the fact he has done so having had just two hours of the summer window remaining when he came through the door is all the more impressive.

That will give the Bairns boss confidence going into January that, given the budget, he and Darren Taylor, can add to an improving squad.

Until then, Falkirk will likely have to continue grinding together results but, as the most defining period of the season has arrived, so have the Bairns.