St Mirren had the best of the early exchanges with the ball based in and around the Falkirk defensive area practically from kick-off.
It had been coming, but what followed blew away the cobwebs and the mist that hung over The Falkirk Stadium.
The home support was restless with what they were seeing, and justifiably so. Rankin’s blushes were saved when he lost [possession on the touchline beside the Bairns dug-out with only David McCracken for cover, and only a wayward strike from Stevie Mallan stopped the Bairns from a self-inflicted concession.
But the game erupted on 38 minutes when Lee Miller – a frequent thorn in the Buddies’ side last year contested a high ball with Jack Baird. The Saint landed heavily on the veteran striker and as the players untangled on the ground the visitor swung a punch into the striker’s face.
Craig Thompson immediately showed the St Mirren defender a red card and Miller also saw red but only as blood seeped from a wound at the bridge of his nose, requiring treatment.
Suddenly the spark was back and tackles from the Paisley side flew in. Myles Hippolyte took a heavy one from Rocco Quinn who later took down his former Queen of the South team-mate Mark Kerr and they exchanged words off the ball before sorting out their differences at the half-time whistle.
From the red card it was a feisty affair, Mark Kerr took to driving the Bairns forward but their charge, and momemtum was paused for half-time. The home support roared the players off, but it could have been very different without the red card flashpoint.
And so it was with 11 vs 10, the second half was very different from the first.
on for John Rankin
It was one-way traffic too with Falkirk all over the Buddies.
Shortly after one change the Bairns scored and the same happened with Bob McHugh and http://www.falkirkherald.co.uk/football-fixtures-results?pstr=player&coid=3&teid=208&plid=240291| Scott Shepherd| Player stats} replacing James Craigen
and John Baird.
Craig Sibbald skipped into the box and fashioned space for a shot but McHugh - being the typical striker - nipped in and blasted at goal. Gallacher saved with his legs and from the resultant corner Bob McHugh made sure by bundling Luca Gasparotto’s header across the line for his first of the season in the league.
The Bairns were on easy street and the slow start was soon forgotten about and they extended their lead through Myles Hippolyte – who had been booked for diving in the box shortly after the equaliser – silencing the boo-boys in the away support who had targetted him for abuse since his clash with Quinn.