BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
PETER Houston insists he went all out for victory over Rangers on Friday – because he could ‘smell blood’.
Now, the Falkirk manager is convinced his players will go for the jugular in their bid to clinch second in the Championship.
After seeing his side charge back from 2-0 down to draw level with goals from Blair Alston and Myles Hippolyte, the Bairns boss has confessed he could have shut up shop and tried to hang on for a point against Rangers.
Instead, though, he introduced another attacker and that substitute, Bob McHugh, poked in a dramatic injury-time winner that leaves his on-form side with just three defeats all season.
With a six-point advantage over third-placed Hibs, who have two games in hand, Falkirk are now many people’s favourites to finish in the runners-up spot.
Houston said: “When we got to 2-2 the other night I put another striker on because we could smell blood. That’s the way I look at it.
“I felt, even if it was for only 20 minutes, that we were the team on the front foot.
“For a club this size with the resources we have we shouldn’t feel any pressure.
“But the one thing I don’t want us to do is rest on our laurels now we are in the play-offs.
“Most people thought the top two would be battling it out and the rest would have been well back.
“But I don’t feel any pressure now we are six points ahead.
“I am going to ask my players to go out and do exactly the same things and take it from there.”
Houston set his squad a goal of 60 points to reach the play-offs and his target has proved accurate as they cannot be caught now they have amassed 61 so far.
The former Dundee United manager has steered clear of any predictions over the points he thinks will be needed to finish second, but his team can go nine points clear of Hibs if they can beat Livingston on Saturday while the Easter Road men are idle.
And, now they are within touching distance of the runners-up place, he sees a determination within his squad to go full steam ahead to try and finish the job.
He added: “I have never set a target of finishing second.
“However, when you are in the situation we are in, we have got to go for it.
“We have to believe we can do it, and the players believe they can do it.
“The players are of the same opinion as me – now we are there we have to do our best to try and finish second because we have an opportunity.
“Our aim is to try to get nine points ahead (on Saturday) to put the pressure on (Hibs), let’s be honest about it.
“It means they will be going into must-win games and sometimes that gets in your head.”