MONDAY VERDICT: Boss slip raised a smile, but Falkirk glad to be done with Livingston

Lee Miller 18 can't hide his enjoyment at seeing David Hopkin tumble. Picture Michael Gillen.
Lee Miller 18 can't hide his enjoyment at seeing David Hopkin tumble. Picture Michael Gillen.

Livingston manager David Hopkin’s touchline tumble was the memorable moment from this game. Infact it was the only notable one.

Both sides of ther stadium laughed, Paul Hartley looked bent double for a second after seeing his opposite number slip while trying to boot the ball in frustration after a free-kick was given against his side.

Tommy Robson clears. Picture Michael Gillen.

Tommy Robson clears. Picture Michael Gillen.

But this was an afternoon of bemusement, not amusement.

Hopkin, a truly likeable and honest character off the park, was just getting into the spirit of things. Because boy did that ball take a right old booting at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

Back to front, then back again, Bairns boss Hartley admitted it was no cause for midfielders on a freezing afternoon, and it was bereft of any incident other than a late goal-line clearance and Hopkin’s fall.

Lee Miller’s late header was booted - of course - off the line by Aaron Muirhead

Falkirk fans endured the game, rather than enjoyed it. Picture Michael Gillen.

Falkirk fans endured the game, rather than enjoyed it. Picture Michael Gillen.

in a close call at the end of the game.

The ball arced up and down, back to front for most of the 90 minutes. When it wasn’t it was bobbling around an awful surface which is surely far from the standard of the top division in this country.

The football certainly wasn’t.

LEAGUE TABLE: SPFL Championship

17-03-2018. Picture Michael Gillen. LIVINGSTON. Tony Macaroni Arena. Livingston FC v Falkirk FC. SPFL Ladbrokes Championship. Gregor Buchanan 5 appealing for a corner.

17-03-2018. Picture Michael Gillen. LIVINGSTON. Tony Macaroni Arena. Livingston FC v Falkirk FC. SPFL Ladbrokes Championship. Gregor Buchanan 5 appealing for a corner.

Yet that’s where Livingston could soon find themselves – and after Saturday Falkirk fans will be happy to see the back of them if another four games between the sides is threatened next term.

The Bairns have only beaten their West Lothian neighbours once this season – a rather fortunate late Scottish Cup win which again, has not lingered long in the memory.

Home defeats, stalemates away, snow and an early season cup exit that seemed to swing the season.

The most enjoyable aspect of their meetings this season has been the propensity for food puns given their stadium’s naming rights.

Craig Sibbald challenged Jackson longridge - Louis' brother. Picture Michael Gillen.

Craig Sibbald challenged Jackson longridge - Louis' brother. Picture Michael Gillen.

But Saturday was pretty much unpalatable all round.

Even a fairly close offside call in the first half for the home side failed to rouse the home spectators. The away fans were buoyed momentarily by a moment of excitement from Alex Jakubiak’s turn and shot that was slapped over the bar, but more often than not the ball was seeing air-time, copious amounts too.

Neil Alexander made a couple of good stops in the second half to deny Andrew Nelson and Reghan Tumilty. He also caught an attempted lobn by the on-loan Sunderland man at the second attempt after a long ball was plucked from his grasp by the all-action frontman.

It was cold. It was boring. It was rudimental. It was all-round not enjoyable, but this season has not been from a Falkirk persuasion.

The job was done though by taking a point from the second-placed side in the league, just don’;t ask any of those unfortunate to have endured it, for details.