Falkirk hung onto a first-half lead against ten-man Livingston to kick 2014 off with a nervy win.
The Bairns were made to work by John McGlynn’s side after Coll Donaldson was red-carded for conceding a penalty with Conor McGrandles.
The Livingston defender had been attracting attention from Queen’s Park Rangers but Falkirk had their own subject of interest and the Bairns are expecting bids for Jay Fulton this month.
But any scouts were thwarted by ref Kevin Graham who red-carded the focus of their Livi attention in the 25th minute in the move that gave Falkirk the half-time lead.
Fulton fed the ball into the path of Conor McGrandles on the right wing and the midfielder - who had been having a poor start to the game - was clattered from both sides by Simon Mensing and Donaldson. Graham gave a spot-kick, red-carded one and booked the other and Rory Loy put the Bairns ahead.
It had been an opening to savour for Falkirk and they attacked with intent and should have been ahead earlier than they were. Loy shut down gopalkeeper Jamieson after a poor backpass from Donaldson but the stopper’s blocked clearance spun wide of the net. He did match a Mark Millar drive from 25 yardes though.
The keeper also helped a deflected cross from Sibbald out but in onbe of many poor calls by ref Kevin Graham - for both sides - he awarded a goal kick.
The red card took the sting out of the game, and Falkirk coasted to half-time, though Michael McGovern had to smother two chances for the home side with Mark Burchill.
But the Bairns continued to see out the game after the break. It could have been too much and the 1-0 lead continued to look precarious in the second half. The midfield began to lose their way and without them, so too did the cohesion between back and front.
A ball inside from Sibbald to Loy was cleverly used to peel an opening at the back but the forward blasted over the top corner.
But the Bairns were hanging on late on as the ten men pressed forward and almost snatched an equaliser in the third minute of extra time when a Marc McNulty strike slid beyond McGovern in a goalmouth scramble and Vaulks booted off the line.#