Plastic fantastic as Falkirk see off Morton

Bairns boss Gary Holt made another signing this week, David McCracken
Bairns boss Gary Holt made another signing this week, David McCracken

Rory Loy’s double and a spectacular strike from Phil Roberts gave Falkirk a 3-1 victory over Morton on the new surface at The Falkirk Stadium.

Two goals in quick succession from the ex-Rangers man gave the Bairns a half-time lead and Roberts followed that up with a stunner just after the break.

Even a late strike from Reece Hands couldn’t take the shine off Falkirk’s plastic curtain raiser as chairman Martin Ritchie and Ian Blair from the SPFL ‘officially’ opened the new park.

The Bairsn also welcomed the armed forces to the stadium in the first of the club’s new ‘tickets for troops initiative’.

The sprinklers were set on the new park early on, and though both sides seemed to enjoy rolling the ball around the new surface, but latterly the only joy was from Falkirk and they could have taken the lead as quickly as five minutes in.

A clever corner routine between Jay Fulton and Rory Loy with a one-two saw the midfielder loop the ball to the backpost where Conoir McGrandles headed at goal, but Derek Gaston palmed out.

Morton were exerting pressure oif their own and Archie Campbell saw a shot blocked by Will Vaulks and then Michael McGovern was clattered while retrieving from the feet of Reece Hands and left-back Kyle Turnbull.

Phil Roberts’ tactic of playing on the shoulder of Mark McLaughlan was proving successful in principle, but while he could wheel away from the defender with ease, he was twice narrowly caught offside by the defence and linesman.

He found more joy later on when a tackle from Will Vaulks turned defence into attack for Falkirk. Fulton carried the ball forward and played in the frontman whose low shot was saved by Derek Gaston. Loy though, was at the edge of the box to curl home the rebound.

It immediately fed the Bairns with confidence, within the next five minutes the Bairns would double their lead and go close another three times.

Jay Fulton headed a dangerous Duffie cross over, before whipping in a horrible ball for the Morton defence to defend. They couldn’t and it spun a foot out across goal and was inches away from being poked in by Phil Roberts.

The goal came right on the 45 minute mark though as Loy scored one-on-one with Gaston, with a neat low finish after running onto a slack pass by Morton’s Habai.

They restarted as the had ended the half, when Phil Roberts raced onto a loose ball from Loy’s harrying of Scott Taggart. The striker could have taken it first time but nutmegged McLaughlin, moving right across the park before thumping high into the top corner from the edge of the box.

Morton knew there was no way back and rarely troubled Michael McGovern, fresh back from international duty. He did have to be sharp off his line to clear a short back-pass from another on national duty this week, Kieran Duffie, as Campbell raced in to challenge the goalkeeper.

Blair Alston had a chance to play in either Loy or Roberts but elected to go it alone on 62 minutes and Gaston parried wide.

Gary Holt was in jovial mood as he and Dale Brooks distributed the water bottles while Habai received treatment for Morton, and the Bairns boss cycled his squad, replacing Stephen Kingsley with Liam Dick, Conor McGrandles with Craig Sibbald and Jay Fulton with Thomas Grant.

Late on a McLaughlan header clipped the outside of the post before Hands stroked in a conslation in injury time from 20 yards.