BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Falkirk boss Peter Houston is adamant his Bairns are not feeling the heat in second spot despite Hibs’ triumph over Rangers.
The Hibees bounced back from an underwhelming run of league outings to defeat Mark Warburton’s champions 3-2 at Easter Road.
It closed the gap to Falkirk to just three points, with the capital club also boasting a game in hand against Dumbarton which could see them draw level with Peter Houston’s side.
However, with a superior goal difference of seven over Hibs, the Bairns still have second place win their own hands ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Raith Rovers – and Houston doesn’t believe the pressure will get to his stars.
He laughed: “I watched the first 20 minutes of Hibs against Rangers and thought ‘I’m turning over to the Merseyside derby!’
“No, I was flicking between the two games, and it was a great result for Hibs – all the credit to them.
“It’s not a result which has put any more pressure on us. We have been under pressure all season to try and maintain the standards we have set for ourselves, and that is what we will try to match.
“I’m glad that we weren’t reliant on Rangers taking something from Easter Road, it’s a real achievement for our players to have made sure it is in our own hands going into the last two games of the season.
“It is simple: if we win our remaining two matches then there is a very good chance we will finish second. Seven goals isn’t insurmountable, but it is a good position to be in.”
And Houston admits this campaign has exceeded even his own expectations as the Bairns battle Hibs, who boast considerably more resources, for the runners-up spot.
He added: “I want to take this team back to the Premiership, that is my ambition.
“However, if we are honest, and I’m sure many others will agree, there was a perception that Rangers and Hibs would fight it out and the rest would be 15 points behind.
“That hasn’t happened and that’s because of the way we have gone about our business and got results. We have done better than maybe even I could have expected at the start of the season.”
Meanwhile, Houston believes Saturday’s televised trip to Kirkcaldy sees Falkirk cross swords with the Championship’s most in-form side.
Rovers have pieced together an nine-game unbeaten run and appear an increasingly credible threat to Hibs and Falkirk in the playoffs.
He added: “It will be a very tough fixture against the form team in the division. They are a settled side and have plenty of experience – a few tried and tested bodies in there.
“They deserve plenty of credit, but we’ve won at Stark’s Park this season and hopefully we can repeat that.”