Monday Verdict: The good, the bad and the Caley

Sports Editor David Oliver weighs up the pro’s and cons from Falkirk’s draw with Inverness

As conflicting a season as this has been for Falkirk the weekend draw at home to Inverness can be viewed whichever way you like.

Glass half full, the Bairns are unbeaten in January since Ray McKinnon swept the decks with his new crew in the hope of turning the tide.

Glass half empty, even a fairly decent point against a tough Caley side sent Falkirk back to the bottom of the Ladbrokes SPFL Championship.

Ian McShane scored from a corner for Falkirk. Picture Michael Gillen.

Talk about giving with one hand and taking away with the other.

And while there are shoots of recovery, and more re-inforcements planned this week by the Bairns boss, the home crowd at Westfield is STILL waiting on a home league win – the last came on April 28 last year, and last season.

It was attacking though with Ray McKinnon going 4-4-2 but while that encourages more attacking than previous formations, it also leaves the Bairns more open at the back.

Ray McKinnon and John Robertson were complimentary after the game.

But yet again, the ying of the dreadful Westfield record has the yang of attendance numbers as the Bairns backing continues to defy their league position, and logic.

There should have been more at the ground too withwell over a thousand free tickets issued to schools and community groups to try and fill the North Stand, but few took up the offer.

They missed a decent game, a collectors’ item in Ian McShane’s goal direct from a corner kick plus eight home debuts for Falkirk players – but not a stunning performance from the Bairns.

Zak Rudden 19 could have won it near the end. Picture Michael Gillen.

Enough though to earn a point and keep pace with relegation rivals Alloa and Partick, even with that drop to the basement.

It’s not all doom and gloom, but at half-time there was a sense of fore-boding that had been felt in the past, but not this intently. There was reality attached too. A concerning, gut-wrenching reality.

Caley hadn’t had to work too hard for their 2-1 lead at the interval, and even though Falkirk valiantly battled back from conceding the lead twice, the feeling before an second-half was darkened by a stunner from Aaron Doran which curbed the Bairns growing enthusiasm in the first half.

They’d gone behind to a clever goal. A sneaky tap-in from Shaun Rooney after Joe Chalmers - one of four ex-Bairns in the Caley side – deceived his former club with a low free-kick.

Falkirk rallied and who else but Zak Rudden tapped in one equaliser, but as the Bairns began to believe again and pushed forward with the on-loan Rangers man combining dangerously at times with Mark Waddington in support, Aaron Doran thumped Caley back in front just before the interval, not picked up at the edge of the box at another free-kick.

PLAYER PROFILE: Ian McShane

Two avoidable goals conceded, but on the flip side, you can’t get back up without going down first. Indeed, this was the first time Falkirk have taken points after trailing at the break in the past 20 league ties.

Now, to reflect that resilience in the league table.

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