The Benchman: Season’s greetings to Bairns fans

School pupils reinact the famous Great War truce football match played on Christmas Day 1914
School pupils reinact the famous Great War truce football match played on Christmas Day 1914

The Benchman suggests a film role for midfield maestro Craig Sibbald and looks back at Falkirk’s Christmas 100 years ago.

CROWD? WHAT CROWD?: Everyone knew it. Saturday before Christmas. Traffic congestion. Weather. Dumbarton? 5.30 p.m. start. What happens? A crowd of 663 spectators. No wonder we had all those shots of the main stand which looked fairly empty. Credit to the cameraman for finding some Bairns die-hards to show celebrating the goals. The choir, also known as The Bishop’s Chair Glee Club, did well to make themselves heard. Didn’t know Brian and Co. could sing in Gaelic.

CRAIG SIBBALD: Have you ever seen Craig Sibbald and James McAvoy as Mr Tumnus in the same room? The scorer of the third goal for Falkirk on Saturday is definitely a candidate for the role in the next production of ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’. The wispy beard just confirms it.

TWO HALVES: Groundhog Day? It looked like the Livingston game all over again. Total domination and a goal up. Then - amazingly - the opposition who should have been out of the game, start to come back into it. For a while it was heading for another snatching of defeat from the jaws of victory, until the Blair Alston goal settled the nerves.

ANSWERS: Last week’s picture was a Charlton team photo which contained Scotland cap John Hewie. Falkirk player and manager Alex McCrae once played with great distinction for the London club. Falkirk have played Rennes in a pre-season friendly.

TEASER: Which current English Premiership team have Falkirk beaten twice at Brockville?

CONSISTENCY: No wonder players get frustrated with referees. On Saturday’s Match of the Day we saw two two identical offences in two different games of holding in the box. Both were stick-on penalties, but only one was given.

CHRISTMAS 1914: You can’t escape the 1914 Christmas Truce kick-about as it’s being featured in TV adverts and newspaper articles everywhere. What was happening for those who were still able to go along to Brockville Park in December 1914? There was a game on December 19 at Brockville, when Falkirk beat Morton 2-0 and then on Boxing Day, Falkirk went through to Love Street but lost by the same score. The Bairns finished that first war-time season in sixth place, with Celtic just pipping Hearts for the title in the last few weeks of the campaign.

CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY GAMES: How times change. We looked forward to the holiday games with players in baseball boots, sliding around on frozen surfaces, playing with an orange ball and a wee nip to keep you warm on the packed terraces. Programmes were threepence and you could get a pie and Bovril for a shilling. We sometimes even walked up from Grangemouth to see the game. Happy Days.

SEASON’S GREETINGS: Best wishes to all our readers for a Happy Christmas. I hope Santa brings you all you wish for, and for Bairns fans- here’s to a top four finish.