BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Falkirk stalwart Mark Kerr reckons Hibs’ repeated attempts at mind games smack of “arrogance” – despite claiming one player said sorry for comments that appeared prior to the clash between the sides.
Last-gasp goals by David McCracken and Bob McHugh rescued a thrilling 2-2 draw for the 10-man Bairns at Easter Road on April 12.
However, the build-up to that encounter saw several of Peter Houston’s charges irked by Hibs midfielder Fraser Fyvie pondering “we’ll see how Falkirk react and if they have any big-game players”.
Following the breathless encounter, McCracken said “somebody maybe needs to take him aside and teach him about making comments”.
Lighting the touch paper for an explosive final day in the Championship, Kerr said: “Fifteen minutes into a game against Hibs at Easter Road you have boys coming up and apologising, saying they didn’t say things in the papers.
“That’s when you realise that they’ve got a bit of respect for us but they maybe say things they don’t really mean.
“If you are putting that in the paper and you don’t mean it then what’s the point of saying it? Two boys also spoke to me in the tunnel beforehand and gave me a bit of respect.
“The boy maybe did not mean it to come out like that. That does sometimes happen and things can be misinterpreted – but when it keeps happening and keeps happening then you start to think maybe there’s a bit of arrogance there.
“I’m not slaughtering Hibs. I’m not slagging anyone. They are a good team but I don’t see the point in all the talk all the time. They are a good side, but if results don’t go your way all the time maybe it’s not down to luck.”
Earlier this season, Alan Stubbs stated his belief that Hibs and Rangers would ultimately pull away from Falkirk, while he has insisted that all the pressure is on the Bairns going in to their final match of the season against Morton.
He continued: “That can motivate you, yes, but it always seems to come from one side as far as I can see. I don’t hear us saying much. It’s mind games.
“Morton’s park was terrible, I heard, last week when Hibs drew there. We were lucky apparently (when Falkirk drew 2-2 at Easter Road) despite having a man sent off and a penalty kick against us. I don’t know who is lucky there.
“It doesn’t bother me. We hear it every game. But that’s what happens when you are the team at the top. They try and pick away at you and take the focus off what you are doing. But we are mentally strong as a group.
“We believe we are as good as Hibs. If we felt inferior, they might get in our heads but they don’t. Them saying things doesn’t make any difference to us.”
Hibs’ rivalry with Falkirk mirrors the running battle between Alan Stubbs and his Rangers counter-part Mark Warburton earlier this season.
And Kerr insists it is a source of amusement in the Bairns dressing room that the Hibees’ comments only turned to them once it became apparent the Gers would claim the title.
He continued: “It was Rangers and Hibs at the start of the season. They were having a go at each other. But when Rangers pulled away, the attention turned to us. That’s what I think is funny, and so do the boys.”
With two 1-0 victories and a 1-1 draw against Morton this season, Kerr is refusing to predict a goal bonanza against Jim Duffy’s well-drilled outfit.
He is, however, hopeful that simply winning the goal will be enough to see off the challenge of Hibs, who face Queen of the South knowing they have a goal difference deficit of three to make up.
He continued: “When we play Morton, we know they are a good side. I think that’s where we have got it right. We don’t go into games thinking we are better than teams but we go out there and try to show we are better than them.
“That’s our approach. We need to win it. We don’t need to win by four, five six goals. We just need to win.”