Monday Verdict: Bingo! Falkirk find the winning line

Sports Editor David Oliver reflects on Friday night’s win, Falkirk’s unlikely goal hero and increasingly dependable squad.

If Falkirk are to hit the jackpot this season, and next, it’s going to take a squad effort.

The defender's cross looped into the net. Picture: Michael Gillen.

The defender's cross looped into the net. Picture: Michael Gillen.

That’s why goals like those exhibited from Jordan McGhee on Friday night will be so important.

A double from a full-back, to see off a side who still harbour promotion ambitions despite a slump that contrasts Falkirk’s ascent in fortunes in almost a mirror image, is the sort of fortune they need. Just like his first goal - “a complete fluke” according to Ian McCall and honestly branded “a cross for Zac Rudden” by the scorer.

But the overhit cross that sailed over Ross Doohan and into the net was a stroke of luck perfect for a player whose name reads like a bingo call. Lucky number three, Jordan McGhee.

It was lucky, but his second was luscious. A thumping hammer right into the corner of the net from almost the same position. Deliberate and decisive after a burst from Tommy Robson down the left despite two overhit touches and a cross that fell temptingly for the captain to smash home.

McGhee then went one better and fired the Bairns two up.  Picture: Michael Gillen.

McGhee then went one better and fired the Bairns two up. Picture: Michael Gillen.

McGhee takes the headlines of course, for stealing Zak a Rudden’s goalscoring mantle but the on-loan Ranger showed the work praised midweek by boss Ray McKinnon, outside the box and harrying Ayr into mistakes. It was an all-round good performance from Falkirk – every player had a part to play and did. They’ll need that as the season draws to a conclusion and the points become ever-more precious.

Be it defenders scoring valuable goals or everyone mucking in to scramble the ball clear and keep clean sheets, to substitutes coming on to see out games. It will be a squad effort, steered by Ray McKinnon and Darren Taylor and led from the front by McGhee.

While he was captain fantastic, Harry Burgoyne was also on top form in a defence missing the experience of Paul Dixon. A series of good saves from the on-loan Wolves goalkeeper kept Ayr out in the second half and defended the lead achieved by defender McGhee.

The Championship’s hottest property Lawrence Shankland was shackled by a defence which was only breached when the in-demand striker strayed offside to tap in from close range. The other efforts from the six-yard box were repelled by Burgoyne.

08-03-2019. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Falkirk FC v Ayr United FC. SPFL Ladbrokes Championship. Falkirk fans applaud Jordan McGhee 3 at the end of the game.

08-03-2019. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Falkirk FC v Ayr United FC. SPFL Ladbrokes Championship. Falkirk fans applaud Jordan McGhee 3 at the end of the game.

There was good luck in some, but quality in others when Burgoyne - all six foot five inches of him - spread himself and made himself even bigger and clipped and clawed all that the Honest Men tested him with.

It was vital in helping the Bairns to just a second home win of the season and another step to safety.

It’s games like Friday when the roles shift but the squad still prevails, even when the defenders are scoring and the forwards are tackling back that will ensure that stays the same.

08-03-2019. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Falkirk FC v Ayr United FC. SPFL Ladbrokes Championship. Lawrence Shankland 17 doesn't enjoy Zak Rudden's 19 sense of humour.

08-03-2019. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Falkirk FC v Ayr United FC. SPFL Ladbrokes Championship. Lawrence Shankland 17 doesn't enjoy Zak Rudden's 19 sense of humour.

Harry Burgoyne was on great form too.  Picture: Michael Gillen.

Harry Burgoyne was on great form too. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Lawrence Shankland had the ball beyond Burgoyne in the second half, but it was ruled offside.  Picture: Michael Gillen.

Lawrence Shankland had the ball beyond Burgoyne in the second half, but it was ruled offside. Picture: Michael Gillen.

08-03-2019. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Falkirk FC v Ayr United FC. SPFL Ladbrokes Championship. Mark Kerr 4 and Deimantas Petravicius 7.

08-03-2019. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Falkirk FC v Ayr United FC. SPFL Ladbrokes Championship. Mark Kerr 4 and Deimantas Petravicius 7.

Jordan McGhee

Jordan McGhee

Zak Rudden was at the wind-up with Daniel Harvie.  Picture: Michael Gillen.

Zak Rudden was at the wind-up with Daniel Harvie. Picture: Michael Gillen.

08-03-2019. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Falkirk FC v Ayr United FC. SPFL Ladbrokes Championship. Paul Paton 6 and Lewis Kidd 2 at the end of the game.

08-03-2019. Picture Michael Gillen. FALKIRK. Falkirk Stadium. Falkirk FC v Ayr United FC. SPFL Ladbrokes Championship. Paul Paton 6 and Lewis Kidd 2 at the end of the game.