BY IAIN COLLIN –[email protected]_sport
PETER Houston insists he is not too worried by his side’s opening-day defeat to Hibernian – because Falkirk have not started the league season with a win for nine years.
The Bairns were deeply disappointed to kick off the campaign with a 2-1 loss to rivals Hibs, a team Houston recognises are likely to be favourites for the Championship title this term.
A clinical double from the in-demand Jason Cummings denied the Westfield men the boost of the victory they craved as they attempt to go one better than last season’s second-placed finish above the Easter Road side.
However, the first-game blues are nothing new to Falkirk, who have begun their previous two campaigns with Houston in charge with draws away to Morton and Cowdenbeath.
And supporters have to go back to 2007 for the last time the Bairns started with a win – on that occasion a 4-0 success against Gretna.
Since then they have suffered defeats to Rangers (twice), Dunfermline, Raith Rovers and Partick Thistle, and drawn with Dumbarton.
Though he would have loved to have brought that winless sequence to an end, Houston is comforted by the knowledge his team are well capable of recovering and having a successful season.
He explained: “Falkirk haven’t won a game on the opening day since 2007, so it’s not as if we’re not used to it here at Falkirk.
“In my first season in charge, we drew 2-2 with Cowdenbeath and last year we drew 1-1 at Morton.
“On Saturday, we lost against what’s probably going to be the strongest team in the division, but I thought we were a wee bit unfortunate to lose.
“There’s certainly no pressure because we lost. I know what the players are capable of.
“Yes, we can do better defensively and, yes, we can create a bit more, but that will come.”
Meanwhile, Houston has urged Craig Sibbald to shoot more after watching the youngster fire in a stunning equaliser for Falkirk at the weekend.
The 21-year-old drove a magnificent effort into the top corner from 30 yards out and Houston wants to see the midfielder repeat the feat in the coming weeks and months.
He added: “It was a fantastic goal from Craig, he’s got that in his locker. I think he can do it more and we keep chatting about it.
“He hit the bar in a game earlier in the season as well and we should encourage him to shoot more because he’s got the ability to put the ball into the net.
“It was a great goal.”