BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
AARON Muirhead is adamant Falkirk were well within their rights to raucously celebrate their dramatic and unlikely comeback against Hibernian last month, and insists his only regret is not being able to take part in the party himself.
Muirhead was red-carded early in the second-half when the teams last met four weeks ago and was kept locked inside the Easter Road dressing-rooms by a surly security guard as the Bairns mounted their grandstand finish.
After goals from David McCracken and Bob McHugh in the final three minutes earned a stirring 2-2 draw, the way the Falkirk players and manager Peter Houston revelled in the vital point irked those in the Hibs ranks who trudged off the pitch knowing their chance of finishing second may have slipped through their grasp.
Head coach Alan Stubbs later barked that ‘celebrations are for the middle of May’, whilst top scorer Jason Cummings claimed it would spur Hibs on for ‘a bit of revenge’.
However, ahead of tomorrow night’s semi-final first-leg at Easter Road, Muirhead maintains Falkirk did nothing wrong in whooping it up and is pinning his hopes on a repeat performance.
“I think you’re entitled to celebrate when you come back from 2-0 down with 10 men,” the defender said. “I was still in the dressing room and the boys were coming in, so I never really knew what was going on.
“I think a lot of people had written us off. But it just shows the character we’ve got that you can never write us off. It turned out to be a big point for us at the end of the season.
“I’m sure if the shoe was on the other foot and it was them that were here and down to 10 men and 2-0 down then it would have been them that would have been celebrating.”
Muirhead believes Falkirk have benefited from pipping Hibs to second spot and earning themselves some down-time last week ahead of what promises to be a keenly-contested semi-final.
Whether the Bairns’ greater freshness will tell in the end remains to be seen but the 25-year-old believes that, with three draws and a narrow victory for Hibs so far this season and with both teams finishing the league campaign on 70 points, the tie is destined to come down to fine margins.
“Over the course of the season, it has shown that it’s nip and tuck between us because there was only two goals in it (in the goal difference),” added the former Partick Thistle player.
“Hibs are a good side, they’ve got good quality there and good depth in their squad. There’s quality they can bring off the bench, good impact players to come on, no matter what line-up they start with.
“But I believe with the squad we’ve got we can more than match them and that’s what we’ll be looking to do.
“We lost the fewest games out of anyone in the whole league and we go into these matches with confidence. They are going to be tough games.
“But we want to go to Easter Road and give the fans something to celebrate. Now we are in this position we would be gutted if we didn’t do it. We want promotion.”