Scottish Cup 4th Round Replay, The Falkirk Stadium, 28/1/20
Falkirk Football and Athletic Club
Founded – 1876
Nickname – The Bairns
Honours – Scottish Cup 1913 and 1957
Current Division – SPFL League 1
Random Fact- The club are part of one of the biggest urban myths in Scottish fitba. In 99/00 Falkirks old home Brockville was deemed unnacceptable for the top flight. The league was expanding to twelve teams. This meaning a three team playoff was to take place at the end of the season between second and third in the First Division and bottom of the Premier. Dunfermline, Falkirk and Aberdeen were those clubs. This idea was scrapped as Falkirk could not be promoted. Dunfermline were automatically promoted along with champions St Mirren and Aberdeen retained their top flight status without having to playoff. Over the years this story has changed where people claim Aberdeen were to be relegated automatically but Falkirk saved them as they couldnt be automatically promoted and Dunfermline seem to have been airbrushed out of this part of Scottish fitbahistory. This myth has grown arms and legs and so much so some Aberdeen fans claim the story is true. As much pish as Denis Law relegating Manchester United with the backheel
Falkirks new ground had always eluded me. This is probablly due to them moving in during my playing days. This coupled with the fact they havent had many seasons in the top flight since moving from Brockville for the start of the 2004/05 season(four). This Scottish Cup replay was a fine chance to tick it off.
Due to this being a midweeker this was a straight down for the game effort. On arrival I couldnt help but think the facade of the Main stand has a certain Hampden-esque look to it. The colouring and the tower type effect was surely modelled on the national stadium. Once inside the question I have always had was immediatley answered. That was “will there ever be a fourth stand built? “. Going by the the astroturf pitch to the east of the ground I cant imagine a stand ever going up.
I was expecting this to be a good game. Even with the first game ending 0-0. The part timers of Arbroath holding their own in the Championship and Falkirk the full timers underachieving and currently in the third tier. I was to be proved wrong quite early. The first half was let’s say……..grim. Arbroath were the better team but barely. I only came to this conclusion because the were first to every ball. But there was no creation of any sort of chance in the first period. Falkirk had one twemty five yard effort that whizzed over the bar into the empty North Stand. But barring that this match was as driech and dreary as the nights weather. Which to be fair was nothing like as cold as expected despite piles of snow around the pitch. One thing I did take from the opening half was, with a heading ban set to come into play at youth levels, maybe the days of players like Connor Sammon are numbered. As having a player like that entices hoofball tactics. As I had just witnessed.
The fifteen minutes of half time brought more entertainment than the previous forty five. This due to a decent play list over the tannoy which included Blue Oyster Cult and Rainbow. But it was the amusement of the “crossbar challenge” that made it. Up stepped a Falkirk fan for six hundred quid. Eighteen yards stood in the way of a nice wee earner. He aimed, he ran up, he made an absolute arse of it. The ball did not even leave the deck and just barely made it into the goals. Wee Man would have made a better fist of it. A truly awful attempt. Bloody funny though
Falkirk came flying out of the traps second half and took the lead after a minute and a half. A corner was swung in leading to what looked a decent save from Arbroaths Gaston. But after a bit of a scramble Declan McManus was there to put the home side ahead. From here Falkirk were clearly he better team and were to continue that untill full time. Arbroath werent at the races and this wasn’t helped by the loss of on loan Aberdeen player Mirko Virtanen. The young Finn broke up alot of play and seemed to be unbeatable in the air. A definate loss for the visitors. Not long after, Falkirk were awarded a freekick twenty five yards out. This not being a key moment but worth mentioning as it was baffling. Two players stood over it. Connolly and McManus. The latter dummied and Connolly struck it at goal. The kick hit the wall, McManus bust a gut to get there to the rebound and suceeded only to be given offside. He was a yard away from the ball when it was hit, there were at least eight Arbroath players between him and goal when the shot was taken and it hit the wall. Bizarre from the linesman but why the referee just agreed to it is just as bad. Worst decision I have seen this season. It was not crucial but just an incredibly shite piece of officiating. From the goal kick Arbroath broke into the hosts box and forced a corner. As the corner was airbourne there was a tussell and Arbroath should have had a penalty as there was a clear pull. But it wasnt to be. The victim of the non pen then went on to take a dive in the box seconds later earning himself a yellow for what was an act of sulkiness. Then Wee Man decided he needed the toilet. (The joys of taking kids to the fitba) . Unfortunatley as we got to the toilet Falkirk doubled their lead through Connor Sammon. Header? Overhead kick? Scorpion kick? Up like a Salmon header? Who knows? But missing it was worth it as I came across a first in all my years bothering fitba grounds. Since I was in the toilets I decided to force out a pee as its a long way home. As I looked down into the urinal, staring back at me was a turd. It was one of those double take moments but it really was a jobby sitting there. I say it was a first at the fitba. It’s probablly a first ever. What on earth would make you decide that dropping a dookie in a urinal was a good idea? Anyway the game was over due to Sammons goal and the home side saw it out and earned themselves a fifth round tie with Hearts
Not a classic but it takes me very close to completing the forty two. It also takes Wee Man nearer fifty grounds
Me 177, Wee Man 47