Monday verdict: Miller and McCracken pass first audition

Interim co-managers David McCracken and Lee Miller safely passed their first audition to become the permanent full-time team at the Falkirk Stadium as they progressed to the next round of the Scottish Cup.

It might be a stretch to say the 4-1 win over Linlithgow Rose strengthened their managerial pitch, given the level of opposition, but it certainly did them no harm.

Lee Miller and David McCracken.

Lee Miller and David McCracken.

There are many things to like about the duo. Firstly, they understand and know what the club is about having played for the Bairns during their respective careers. Miller came through the ranks as a youngster before returning to the club later on in his career. McCracken was part of a successful side that reached the Scottish Cup final in 2015 and were involved Premiership play-offs.

They also have an affinity with the fans and what Miller and McCracken lack in managerial experience they make up for in passion and enthusiasm to succeed, and you could see how much they were relishing their roles in the dugout.
What’s more they firmly believe they are the right men for the job.

Of course, that alone isn’t enough to guarantee success on the park, the tougher tests are still to come and that is what they will be ultimately judged on.

A win was the absolute minimum requirement for the Bairns on Friday night, but given the way other fixtures went last weekend with Broxburn, BSC Glasgow, Bonnyrigg Rose, Queen’s Park and Stranraer all beating higher league opposition, you didn’t have far to look for an upset. In fairness, though, after an early goal from Conor Sammon that never looked likely here.

Even with a slender 2-1 advantage for Falkirk with 15 minutes to go, they didn’t appear to be in too much trouble in front of the BBC cameras at a sold out Prestonfield. Credit to the Rose they showed determination and battling spirit but came up short.

There weren’t wholesale changes to the Bairns with Sammon and Lewis Toshney being reinstated to the starting line up – although there was a tweak to the formation. It seemed to allow Dixon to play with more freedom as a wing back as he chipped in with a goal and an assist, and most fans would probably agree it was one of his better games.
Sammon, too, repaid the faith within the opening eight minutes, with a composed finish to get Miller and McCracken off to the start they were after.

They would have been disappointed with the softness of the goal scored by Tommy Coyne to level things up, before Sammon scored again before the break.

Falkirk created a number of chances to kill the game off but they didn’t do so until 78 minutes when Declan McManus slotted under McKinven to make it 3-1 to extinguish any hope of a cup shock. Dixon rounded off the scoring with a few minutes remaining.