BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Falkirk could go to within a point of second spot in the Championship today, but manager Peter Houston insists he is happy to see his team ‘fly under the radar’.
The spotlight has so far fallen on Rangers and Hibs this season, just as it did last term when eventual champions Hearts were also one of the big clubs in a topsy-turvy second-tier.
But Falkirk have so far lost only twice in an impressive opening to the campaign – in controversial clashes with Rangers and Hibs – and have moved into the top pair’s slipstream without gaining too much attention.
A win against Alloa Athletic at home this afternoon would move the Bairns to just a point adrift of Hibs and to within six of Rangers at the top.
Yet, rather than be annoyed at the lack of credit his team have received, Houston is satisfied to let the publicity fall elsewhere.
Houston, who served a touchline ban for complaints made about the officials after last month’s Rangers defeat, said: “To be totally honest with you, I am happy to fly under the radar. I’m happy the talk is all about Rangers and Hibs.
“But if we win on Saturday we go a point behind Hibs. For a club with the resources we have, to be a point behind them, with the resources they have, shows we’re not doing a lot wrong.
“I look at the two games we have lost this season and against Hibs we lost to a penalty I didn’t think was a penalty, otherwise we’d have taken something from the game.
“The game against Rangers was 1-1 after 83 minutes and I felt we’d have got something from the game, but I thought we were a bit hard done by – as you know.
“So, we have only lost two games, to the teams directly above us.
“But our league in many ways is against the rest, because if we’re being honest with ourselves the play-offs are the target that a club this size should be challenging for.”
A shot at promotion may be Falkirk’s stated aim but it is not the limit of their ambition. If they do secure a play-off, they will then have the scent of promotion firmly in their nostrils.
But in the hypothetical scenario where they remain in the Championship for another year, Houston – who has not yet started talks to extend his contract beyond next summer – believes the Bairns would be favourites for the title next term.
He added: “I don’t mean to be disrespectful to any team that did come down but I definitely think we would be favourites next year.
“If it was Partick, for example, they know what this league is all about but St Mirren, after a number of years in the SPL, are finding out this league isn’t easy.
“How many times do you find teams from the Premier League in England going down to the Championship and struggling, like QPR; Wigan have gone down two leagues.
“This division, trust me, whether you are playing Rangers at the top or Alloa at the bottom, you don’t get any easy games – they all present their own problems.”