Bottom club Falkirk head to Inverness on Saturday with their latest manager Ray McKinnon so far unable to motivate the club sufficiently to direct them away from the foot of the table.
If we thought our performance in the Scottish Cup was abysmal, and it was, spare a thought for the Bairns suffering fans as they were dumped out of the Scottish Cup by four goals to two. That's bad enough, but it was their lesser fancied League One neighbours Stenhousemuir who inflicted the damage leading to some unsavoury scenes from the stands as angry fans berated their own players.
How the mighty have fallen. It's barely three and a half years since these two clubs contested the 2015 Scottish Cup final in front of 37,149 fans with Inverness just coming out on top. Falkirk losing to the Warriors was a poor result for them, but was it any worse than our tepid performance at Ainslie Park in front of 867 hardy souls where we drew with Edinburgh City? I'm not sure there's much between the results. Lack lustre, embarrassing, devoid of creativity, sluggish, lack of penetration were all used on this forum to describe our performance. One sentence really summed it up, "we are the most boring outfit in Scottish Football right now."
What's gone wrong? We are finding it increasingly difficult to turn draws into wins. Yes we are unbeaten for half a million games, but the support have seen it all before and long before the draws become reality, the sense of a draw running through the stands is overbearing. Lack of ambition coupled with no budget is restricting what we can do, but it's becoming more obvious that we won't get out of this division with the squad we have just now, they are simply not good enough to sustain a challenge. Our defence is solid enough, but there is little creativity from midfield and our front men are challenging. Challenging the fans enthusiasm to return and watch more of the same.
Still, we are unbeaten some say. Oh my, remaining unbeaten has become an obsession and is detrimental to our progress. Last Saturday in the cup was a prime example, an opportunity for the front men to make a few headlines. I know, I know, cup shocks are what makes the competition, we should know we have been involved in some memorable ones over the years. However, those days are long gone and those that witnessed our sorry attempt at Ainslie Park will testify to that.
Can you be more upbeat I hear you say. Well, we won't get a better chance to make amends than the visit of a struggling club that has only scored 8 goals in the Championship and conceded 21, not the worst, but 8 more than we have conceded. The Bairns have only two wins this season in the Championship, recently against Dunfermline Athletic and away to Alloa at the end of September. That sees them at the bottom of the table with just 8 points whilst we have 22 in fourth place.
We did win the opening game of the season 1-0 at Falkirk thanks to a George Oakley strike, however that was a long time ago now.
Ayr United staked their claim to be taken seriously last night with a 5-0 demolition of Dundee United at Tannadice, Lawrence Shankland the main demolition man with four of the five goals. Stunning performance from the Honest men that puts them 5 points clear at the top with today's games to come.
Ray McKinnon talking to the Official Falkirk FC website said:-
“There’s nothing we can do about last week now other than to learn from it. It’s all about Inverness from as soon as last Saturday’s match was finished and ensuring we prepare properly for the match.
“We know where we are, I know where we are. We are going to get inconsistencies, every team has them, we just had a really poor day on Saturday and got punished for it.
“I would rather that it didn’t happen, but we now have an opportunity to get back to the form we have shown in the last four games in the league. It’s our bread and butter this season.”
Zak Rudden will return and he could have Scott Harrison back for this one, and Mustapha Dumbuya could get on the park. Prince Bauben is also just about ready for action so it could be a very different Bairns from the one that were dumped out of the cup.
John Robertson will just have to go with the tried and tested for this one as our wafer thin and fragile squad struggle for fitness. Defensively we can cope, with Jamie McCart doing well since his insertion to the starting XI. Scoring goals is the big issue with lightweight Nathan Austin possibly out. Big opportunity for youth to get a fling, and we might see Daniel Mackay or Roddy MacGregor get some game time.
tm4tj prediction:- Draw anyone!
ICTFC v Edinburgh City
Tulloch Caledonian Stadium
Tuesday 4th December
Concessions (Senior and 16-25): £6
Juniors (under 16s): FREE
Season ticket holders will, for the first time, be able to use their season card by adding the cup game onto it. Season ticket holders can activate the cup ticket online (up to kick off), or by phoning the ticket office on 01463 222880 or in person up to an hour before kick-off. Please note that even free under 12 seats need to be added to the season card. Get your tickets HERE