Peter Houston will give highly-rated left-back Tony Gallacher his full debut against Elgin City on Saturday.
The defender was not included in Scot Gemmill’s under-19 Scotland squad but will make his Falkirk bow in the Irn-Bru Cup.
Both Peter Houston, and the Scotland youth boss, believe it’s in the best interests of the defender to sample first team action.
Peter Houston said: “Tony Gallacher will play on Saturday. that’s the definite. I spoke to Scot Gemmill because he was going to split the two games between Tony and Josh Hardie from Dumbarton, but when I explaiend I was planning on giving him his full debut on Saturday Scot didn’t want to deny him that and felt it would be better for his development.”
Gallacher has made a senior appearance from the bench, coming on in last season’s Scottish Cup win over Fraserburgh.
He’s expected to make many more appearances for the Bairns though and is highly rated in the youth ranks.
I see him turning from a skinny boy to a guy who looks and is built like a professional footballerPeter Houston
Boss Houston added: “I need to find out about Tony because you can see the change in him in his physical attributes over the last year, that he’s become a man.
“He’s not long turned 17 but if Luke Leahy was to be injured I need to know he’s capable of stepping in. I totally believe he’s capable but here’s a situation where it’s important to win matches, instead of under-20s where we don’t worry about the scores. There’s a pressure to win on Saturday and pressure from the supporters and I think it’s a great grounding for Tony.
“Depending how he goes he could push Luke Leahy this season. However Luke has been one of my best players over the past 18 months... that’s another reason he hasn’t been closer.
“But I have seen a change in physicality about Tony, I see him turning from a skinny boy to a guy who looks and is built like a professional footballer and he looks good in training so deserves a chance.”
Reports earlier this summer linked the youngster with moves to Rangers and Manchester United but it was another English premier League side – Stoke City – who expressed most interest in the youngster, however the transfer window closed without a firm bid being submitted.