BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Peter Houston admits he is thrilled Falkirk were able to ‘grind out’ a 2-1 win over Raith Rovers in a match he reckons was more like a traditional cup tie than a league encounter.
John Baird won it for the Bairns with a 60th-minute strike after Iain Davidson had been woefully short with a pass-back.
Befitting of a meeting of fourth and third, there was little between the teams throughout, and Rovers felt aggrieved they were left with nothing to show for their efforts at full-time.
The Fifers took the lead five minutes before the break when Mark Stewart benefitted from a defensive mix-up, but the lead lasted just three minutes as Blair Alston volley in a fantastic equaliser.
And, after watching his defence cling to the win late on, Houston was delighted his side kept themselves on the coattails of Hibernian and Rangers above them.
He said: “It was a hard-fought win.
“We gifted Raith Rovers their goal but the good thing about that was we got back really, really quickly.
“It was a good finish from Blair Alston; a good run down the side by Bob McHugh and a good ball in.
“But we knew we weren’t going to get it easy here.
“The ironic thing was we scored the winner with a similar type mistake, with them knocking the ball too short.
“There were mistakes at both ends and it was more like cup-tie football, rather than a typical Championship match.
“I don’t think there was huge amounts of good passing play, the passing was sloppy, but sometimes you’ve got to grind results out.
“And our boys are more than capable of doing that now.
“Last year against Raith we were winning with 30 seconds to go and they got the last-minute goal.
“But we’ve got a wee bit of grit and determination and it puts us in a nice position.
“I’ve said we need 15 points a quarter and we’ve got 12 out of 12 so far in this quarter.
“So, we’re on course for where we want to be.”
Houston also revealed that Baird won the match against his old club despite suffering neck pain that placed his appearance in massive doubt.
Pain in the neck
He added: “John shouldn’t have been playing.
“I tell you no lies, on Thursday and Friday he couldn’t move his neck. His neck muscles were going into spasm.
“We got him acupuncture, we had a woman working on his neck on Friday and he woke up feeling sore.
“He came into the park early and got more massage on it – and said he wasn’t 100 per cent but he wanted to start the game.
“I had a decision to make and it was a close decision – but I’m glad I made it!
“I thought he was good.
“We’ve all had it, whether it’s a bad pillow or whatever it is. We did some weights on Tuesday and Wednesday and he’s obviously done something wrong.
“I would have said he was 40-60 against, even when I saw him in the morning.
“Fair play to him, he went in and put in a good shift.
“I’m delighted but he shouldn’t have been on the park.”