Fast forward two difficult years since that, the last real moment of hope for Falkirk fans and it was the same scenario - an ex-Arab boss chasing the play-offs, only this time at the opposite end of the table.
How things have changed for the worse since Joe McKee’s free kick in the Premiership play-off semi-final.
The Bairns are now focused on the opposite play-offs and praying for help from Ayr and former boss Ian McCall in their quest this time around after this defeat in Dundee dented hopes.
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There was no crackle of anticipation like two years ago, just hope on the horizon, but Championship status is disappearing from view but not quite out of sight.
That’s thanks to Inverness overturning Alloa’s lead midway through the second half, by the Falkirk were far behind with no prospect of return.
The ball seemed drawn into the wide expanse in front of Harry Burgoyne’s goal every time a strong United side attacked with gusto from the first whistle. It was they, with nothing but points and pride at stake and no positional importance, who had the bit between their teeth and not the Bairns who were scrapping for their status.
The ball filled the defensive vacuum and eventually one was stuck away - the unmarked Mark Reynolds earning a corner from the outstanding Harry Burgoyne and then the unmarked Rachid Bouhenna going one better.
Paul McMullan tucked the next away from a cut-back with again defenders barely in his proximity.
The warning wasn’t heeded until too late.
Sure they got lucky and Burgoyne dug them out of several holes again and United didn’t dent the goal difference too badly, and there was a rally in the second half, but just not enough and that’s the story of the season.
Indeed they barely tested Benjamin Siegrist in the United goal all afternoon, despite carving out a few chances.
Jordan McGhee hit the post with a header, Davis Keillor-Dunn nodded over when it looked easier to scare, Zakn Rudden was ruled offside late on.
Rudden was also cleaned out in the lead-up to Dunn’s miss, but in short the Bairns were found wanting in the quality department
As they have done all season and that rankles in the visiting support so used to Premier-level football or top end challenges, and play-offs for promotion, not preservation.
It led to protests against the board, personally at directors and senior management and stakeholders, vociferous and vitriolic throughout the 90 minutes and beyond.
A far cry from the hope and expectation of May 2017, with Falkirk now a shadow of its former self just two years ago.