BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Falkirk boss Peter Houston has backed former West Ham goalkeeper Deniz Mehmet to challenge for the Bairns’ number one spot following his long-awaited debut.
The 23-year-old, who also spent four years in the Turkish top-flight with Kayserispor, has been a standout in the Development League for the Championship outfit following his arrival in January.
He has been forced to be patient due to the outstanding form of Danny Rogers but, with the loan star away with Ireland’s under-21 side at the weekend, Mehmet was finally given his Falkirk bow in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat against Livingston.
While he emerged on the losing side, Houston insists he saw enough from the former Turkey under-19 internationalist to believe he could inherit the jersey if Rogers gets his opportunity at Aberdeen next season.
Houston said: “I thought Deniz did well, I don’t think he had any chance with the goals we gave away. There was no blame attached to him at all, we should do better defensively.
“He is a major positive from the weekend. He had a good save in the first half and, although he didn’t have much to do in the second half, he was assured.
“He fills the goal well, is a good size well and I’ve no doubt that he will get another opportunity for us. Without doubt, he will be in our thinking for the number one spot next season.
“There’s a good chance that Aberdeen might want to pull Danny [Rogers] back, that’s a conversation I’ll have with Derek McInnes at the end of the season, and Deniz has put himself in a position to challenge for the number one spot if that happens.”
Meanwhile, Houston insists he is retaining a sense of perspective despite the bitterly
disappointing defeat against Livi – just their second home reverse of a fine campaign.
He added: “There is a lesson to be learned – we can’t keep giving teams a two-goal start! We did it against Rangers, then we did it again versus Livingston and came a cropper.
“We’re disappointed, we wanted to put that nine points distance between ourselves and Hibs. But we move on and there is still loads to play for.
“The fact that is only our second league defeat at the Falkirk Stadium shows how far we have come. We still have Hibs to play, Rangers to play and between now and the end of the season there will be more points dropped and it’ll be as tight as hell.
“We are above our target at the start of the season and we will hopefully start another run of good results against Queen of the South on Saturday.”