BY IAIN COLLIN – Capital City Press
Falkirk striker John Baird reckons the stuttering start St Mirren have made to the season just proves how difficult a league the Championship is.
Baird relished the three years he spent with the Buddies at the start of his senior career when the club won the First Division title and the Challenge Cup in the same season.
But the 30-year-old came back to haunt his old club last month when he bagged a second-half double to help the Bairns overturn a 2-0 deficit to clinch a dramatic 3-2 victory.
And, as he prepares to try and down them again this afternoon, he insists the Paisley outfit’s struggles simply highlight the quality there is in the Scottish second-tier.
St Mirren currently sit seventh in the table, a full 23 points behind Rangers and with just two wins from 11 league matches since relegation from the Premiership in May.
Baird said: “There’s not a big difference in the leagues. You’ve got Rangers and Hibs, and they’re Premiership outfits, let’s be honest, and last year you had Rangers, Hibs and Hearts – three Premiership outfits.
“For me, Falkirk are definitely gearing up to being a Premiership outfit, if not maybe better equipped than most clubs that are already there.
“Raith Rovers have also started really well. I was there myself and I’m hearing really good things about what’s happening there.
“So, I think you would be being disrespectful to the league if you said St Mirren are in a false position, because that’s the position they’re in.
“I would say the top half of the Championship is not far away from the bottom half of the Premiership.
“You would look at some teams and some players wouldn’t get in our team and some of our players maybe wouldn’t get in other teams. I wouldn’t say there’s that big a gap.
“And I think St Mirren coming down here proves how hard a division it is.”
Baird netted a hat-trick in last Saturday’s 5-0 hammering of Dumbarton as Falkirk got back on track following their controversial defeat to Hibs.
And he is hoping for another outing like the earlier meeting of the sides at St Mirren Park.
The former Raith Rovers and Partick Thistle marksman added: “I’ve got good memories from the last time we played St Mirren but also good memories from being there myself.
“I was there for three and a half years and we won the league and the Challenge Cup when I was there. It was always a successful time.
“To go back there and get a couple of goals was obviously good and hopefully we can get another win this time round.”