ALISTAIR FELL – @CCP_sport
Saturday’s match-winning strike may have damaged his reputation in the eyes of Raith Rovers supporters – but Falkirk striker John Baird insists he still has ‘very fond memories’ of his time at his old club.
Having had two spells at Stark’s Park and been crowned First Division player of the year with Raith, not to mention scoring their Ramsdens Cup winner just last year, the 30-year-old returned not only to face his former side but to once more score against them in the Bairns’ 2-1 victory.
It was a crucial goal for his current club, who surged six points clear of their hosts in third place as they bid to clinch the promotion play-off spot that eluded them last season.
Ecstatic, having scored again against his old team-mates, Baird spoke afterwards of his time at Raith, as well as his impressive goal-scoring record against the Kirkcaldy side.
“I loved my time at the club, I’ve got very fond memories,” he said. “A lot of family were in the stand in the Raith end, because that’s where they always watch the games.
“I think that’s every game bar one I’ve scored against Raith.”
Baird, who has now scored five in his last three games, added: “It’s all right just now. I’m enjoying it, but I know things can change.”
Despite the confidence Falkirk will take from the result – their third consecutive victory – Baird is hesitant to make promises, however.
Asked if they could catch Hibernian four points above, he said: “Hibs have got a lot of resources and they can probably bring in certain players, Premiership-calibre players, in January.
“We’ll just win our games, but we’re a decent side and we’ll see how it goes.”
The day may well have ended differently for the striker, who had given his manager a decision to make on whether he should play in the first place.
The former St Mirren, Dundee and Partick Thistle striker had been nursing severe neck spasms ahead of the game and was in severe pain just hours before the game.
“I had some acupuncture,” he explained. “I had about 24 needles stuck in my back – honestly, I looked like a hedgehog!
“I got treatment for about four or five hours on Friday, just trying to settle it.
“But on Saturday morning I couldn’t get out of my bed.”
The manager’s decision paid off and Falkirk find themselves just nine points behind leaders Rangers and well on course for a top-four finish.