In a game that no team could afford to lose, neither did – but both bizarrely still ended up losers.
Baffled? You should be, but that’s this season for the Bairns all over.
Alloa’s defeat of Morton with the most calamitous winning goal you’ll see this year meant that they pulled away from both Falkirk and Thistle at the bottom of the Championship.
Indeed, there were more Falkirk fans in the main stand of the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill watching this basement battle than there were in the entire spectator spaces of Alloa’s Recreation Park.
And more too than at Queen of the South versus top of the table Ross County as Falkirk’s support continues to outperform the team, in numerical terms at the very least.
Treated would be the wrong word but they were ‘presented’ with very much a tenth in the league hosting ninth calibre match from a quality persepctive as well as in league table terms.
Yet many of the Bairns vast support came away feeling elated, though a little disappointed having come from behind to take a point but not having done enough to see off Gary Caldwell’s side.
They had the quality to do so, they had the late opportunities too, but it was probably a bit too late by the time they put Conor Hazard’s goal under concerted pressure and used their man advantage after Gary Harkins’ fairly harsh sending off.
Ray McKinnon has all his new players, like a kid with toys and clothes after Christmas, but reverted back to ‘auld claes and porridge’ as the saying goes.
The five at the back worked through the last quarter of 2018, but now with better at his disposal, McKinnon can allow them to play better football. He can use his new toys for better entertainment, he can impress the rest of the league with his new-look squad.
And it does look much improved, man-to-man.
He spoke afterwards of aiming to switch into a 4-4-2 formation eventually, but looking ahead to meetings with Inverness, QOS, Ross County and Dundee United – if ever there was a time to do it – this was it.
Thistle looked up for a scrap, but Falkirk seemed initially stronger than the side which saw out 2018.
However they were too deep and defensive and Zak Rudden told his bench that one minute before the Jags punished the encamped Bairns on __ minutes.
They couldn’t afford to lose and slip beneath even Gary Caldwell’s sorry side in the table and Harkins’ late challenge on Ross MacLean was the final straw for ref Andrew Dallas who had let some brutal challenges pass – but punished others. Falkirk took advantage, and could have had more had they attacked Conor Hazard more in the early stages..
There’s a point gained, but more will be achieved when they shake their inhibitions.