Paul Paton will help Falkirk’s young Bairns

The experienced Bairn: Paul Paton. (Michael Gillen)
The experienced Bairn: Paul Paton. (Michael Gillen)

Falkirk midfielder Paul Paton turned down other offers to become a Falkirk player this summer, and is now hoping to become something of a leader with the Bairns.

The 31-year-old had offers from Barnet, Greenock Morton and Livingston in January before choosing to join Plymouth Argyle, and he was sought after again this summer before choosing to move to The Falkirk Stadium.

Paul Paton is enjoying his new surroundings

Paul Paton is enjoying his new surroundings

“I did have offers from elsewhere, but I chose Falkirk for loads of reasons. I believe in what the manager and Gordon Young are building here. I worked with Youngy before at Dundee United and I really enjoyed working under him so that was a big factor.

“He phoned me a couple of times and said they needed an experienced head. There’s a lot of kids here with a lot of pace and energy and the only thing they were lacking was a bit of experience.”

The Northern Ireland international, despite being just 31, is the oldest player in the Falkirk squad by nearly four years and, more importantly, has experience playing in Scotland and in the Scottish Championship - something which only a few of the new signings have.

Paton gained promotion from League Two with Queens Park as a youngster, before moving on to Partick Thistle, Dundee United, St Johnstone and then venturing down south with Plymouth.

Falkirk’s low average age is not something that will phase the battling midfielder, and he hopes his vast experience of the Scottish game and his brief time in England can help youngsters moving north with their transition.

“It’s something that I will thrive on, coming to help the young kids,” he told the Falkirk Herald. “Saying that, I will only enjoy it if we are winning games - I’m not here to peter out my career I’ve only just turned 31 and I want to be a winner and I want to get promoted.

“[The new signings] will have to learn quickly, I’m not going to lie. There’s a big difference between this and reserve football and it’s up to them to step up to the mark - there’s only so much you can help people.

“They need to dig in, and I’m sure they’ll do that. I will look to help but they need to help themselves and want to be winners.”

Paton isn’t phased by the amount of youngsters in the squad, pointing out that the Partick Thistle side that he captained to Championship promotion were similar.

“In a lot of other teams I wouldn’t be the oldest but I think Aaron Muirhead is the next oldest at 27. It’s mad.

“At the same time, when you look back to my Partick Thistle team that gained promotion we had a really young team so you can do it.

“If we have a poor season it won’t be down to inexperience, it will be down to the fact that we weren’t good enough. I have done it before with a young team and I can do it again.”

The ex-Dundee United midfielder played 45 minutes of Falkirk’s pre-season friendly with The New Saints on Friday and hopes to get further minutes before the season begins.