Sports Editor David Oliver gives his verdict on last niogght’s 1-1 draw with league leaders Ross County.
A lot separated these sides in the Championship, but on the night very little did as Falkirk scored their first home league goal of the season.
Well, Don Cowie did on their behalf but Falkirk were rightly rewarded for their efforts and endeavour on a night when the top of the table County came to town.
They’re no longer top either. Ayr United are and are coming calling this weekend. Falkirk on this positive mental attitude need not fear them as much as they did a matter of days ago.
The Bairns got it right. Almost. The industry and attitude was excellent, the fans responded to that too. And Ray McKinnon picked a crowd pleaser of a side.
In came fan favourite Tommy Robson and the left-foot allegedly better than Roberto Carlos’ laid on the opening goal off the unfortunate head of Don Cowie.
He removed Aaron Muirhead from right-back and played the Bairns captain alongside Jordan McGhee in the centre of a three man defence with Patrick Brough.
And he got the crowd cheering again.
Even Paul Paton, a target for a section of the support, was cheered as he flew into a few robust midfield challenges before his now obligatory spat with the home support in the second half.
It put a smile on the faces. It restored voices and confidence. And this was only a draw.
The fans murmured to begin with, barely raising a sound following the pre-match silence in respect of the helicopter crash at Leicester City at the weekend.
By the conclusion of a 1-1 draw which Falkirk led for more than half of they were roaring approval, or at least in hope rather than anguish as it has frequently been this season, and last.
David Mitchell barely had a first half save to make and the Bairns were drilled in the 5-3-2 formation.
They let County dominate possession and camped out on the 18-yard line and held out, then picked them off on the break.
Falkirk’s left side was most dangerous. Deimantas Petravicius hit the by-line and cut back just out of Zak Rudden’s reach. Then Tommy Robson did the same but floated a cross over Rudden and into the path of backtracking Cowie who crashed an enviable header into the top corner of his own net.
The team celebrated together, and they played together too.
Confidence restored and they began to take a step forward. Paton unlucky to kick the ground with the goal at his mercy before the interval.
But the confidence became costly. It wasn’t over-confidence but too much composure at the back saw Falkirk try and play their way out of danger with Andy Irving and Rudden and Robson combining, but the latter’s clearance spun to Iain Vigurs who tucked a delightful curling effort off the post and in to level.
Still it could not detract from a performance as unexpected as this.
It’s a draw. It should have been more goals. But it’s better than what’s gone before it. Much better.
And that pleased the crowd.