Falkirk were knocked out of the Scottish Cup at the fourth round stage for a second consecutive season after a 2-0 defeat at Cappielow against Greenock Morton.
Aside from a 20 minute spell in the first half, Morton dominated the match and deserved to progress to the fifth round.
The hosts were at it straight from the off and nearly scored within three minutes. Man of the match Ross Forbes played the ball in from the right and Mark Russell smashed against the post after a scramble in the box.
Falkirk dictated play for 20 or so first half minutes, and James Craigen was central to that. The 25-year-old picked up on a loose ball and fired just wide on 10 minutes.
On 18 minutes the best chance Falkirk created all afternoon fell to Craigen. A long ball over the top was misjudged by the two Morton defenders and set Craigen through on goal, but he took too long to release his shot and was denied by Morton keeper Derek Gaston.
From the resulting corner, that man again was denied. This time Craigen connected well on the spin but his shot was well blocked.
A couple of long-range efforts were all Falkirk had for the remainder of the half, with debutant Fraser Aird firing just over and Craig Sibbald’s 30 yard effort tipped over by Gaston.
Despite a good spell for Peter Houston’s side, they went into the break trailing. Ross Forbes nodded the ball across the six yard box and David McCracken’s clearance bounced against Jamie Lindsay and in for 1-0 on 39 minutes.
The goal seemed to give Jim Duffy’s side a boost and they went straight back on the attack, and Danny Rogers had to be at full stretch to deny Gary Oliver and ensure the game was 1-0 at the break.
Into the second half and, in the words of manager Peter Houston, anything that was said at half-time went straight out of the window as Ross Forbes made it 2-0 to Morton.
Forbes was denied at the first time of asking but got a second bite after Paul Watson was caught on the ball and made no mistake from less than six yards.
And it was very nearly 3-0 on 50 minutes. Ricki Lamie has only scored once before for Morton but had a header cleared off the line by Mark Kerr to deny him his second goal for the club.
A largely quiet second half sprung into life on 77 minutes as Danny Rogers reacted superbly to tip Paul Watson’s goal-bound clearance over the bar.
Forbes should have made it three shortly after when he cut inside onto his right foot and fired comfortably over the bar.
Watson’s uncomfortable afternoon continued into the final ten minutes. His soft back header was intercepted by Aidan Nesbitt who somehow lobbed the ball wide of the near post.
The last chance of the game fell the way of substitute John Baird. He got on the end of Fraser Aird’s flick on but fired over the bar from close range.
Peter Houston admitted afterwards: “Morton deserved the victory. With the group of players we have got, we should be doing better.”
“No matter who plays next week, I can have no complaints from anybody if they aren’t in the team.”