Sports Editor David Oliver looks back on Falkirk’s important win over Alloa on Saturday.
The Bairns have caught the unbeaten bug and at last the adbrokes SPFL Championship is a sight for sore eyes, quite literally too.
Poor Ray McKinnon. He watched his side emerge from the drop zone while he stood alone in the eye-drop zone.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED: Alloa 1 Falkirk 2
A dose of conjunctivitis saw him keep his distance from the squad in the latter half of last week, and stand far away from his players and staff on Saturday.
The gaffer is contagious, but the mentality in the squad is what is becoming infectious. The losing habit has been beaten for the time being and omens are looking good.
So too does the Championship table.
Who said laughter is the best medicine? Winning is probably just as good for the well-being.
LEAGUE TABLE: Ladbrokes SPFL Championship
Falkirk were not particularly slick at The Indodrill Satdium, but they were gritty against an Alloa side who strung together some nice moves, and some threatening attacks.
But it’s points that count for the Bairns. Despite the manager’s optical woes this game wasn’t enough to make your eyes water, but it wasn’t particularly easy on the eye either. But it was effective.
And the Bairns are now eighth – out of the danger zone, for the time being – and preparing to suck rivals Dunfermline into a four-way relegation battle.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Alloa 1 Falkirk 2
The Pars are looking down, while the Bairns are in the ascendency, combining impressive results together – if not always performances to match. These, though, are a far removed and far improved from the showings earlier in the season, now they truly have a McKinnon mark on them, or in Saturday’s case, Darren Taylor’s.
The players are looking like the team unit and so too are the management staff as the deputy dictated the play perched on the edge of the technical area while McKinnon watched from afar. His closest contact was a full-arm stretched high five to a few players who ventured near the boss to celebrate. Others fist pumped in his direction with a smile.
FANS VIEWS: Alloa 1 Falkirk 2
The supporters too were punching the air, all 1539 of them.
Just hours earlier the Bairns support had been ranked the 12th best in Scotland this season, despite the lowly league placing of the team on the field.
And a top level support followed to Alloa for a performance engineered in midfield by Paul Paton and Ian McShane, supplied by attackers Zak Rudden and Demi Petravicius and executed by Jordan McGhee and Mark Waddington.
IN QUOTES: Alloa 1 Falkirk 2
The league table reads like that sizeable support could yet have a team ranking to match their own, but though nine points separate Falkirk and fourth, it’s still a tad too ambitious for the moment.
The main focus has been to remove the team from the doldrums of the drop-zone. That was achieved on Saturday and the league table looks a lot healthier, even if the manager isn’t.