BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
FALKIRK boss Peter Houston reckons Saturday’s derby-day clash with Dunfermline can fill the void left by Rangers’ promotion.
The Bairns lapped up sell-out clashes against the Gers last term, claiming two memorable triumphs over Mark Warburton’s men at a raucous Falkirk Stadium.
While the absence of the Glasgow outfit has been seen as a financial blow to the Championship, Houston is hopeful Dunfermline’s return to the second tier will ensure another bumper attendance.
The eagerly anticipated clash is the first league meeting between the sides since February 2013 and, having enjoyed the encounter during his six years as a Falkirk player, Houston has vowed to make sure his charges know what is stake.
“You can talk about taking Rangers being out of the league, but what we lose with Rangers, in terms of the crowd, we might get it back with Dunfermline coming here,” said Houston.
“They could sell their allocation and I believe there’s only a few [tickets] left in the South Stand.
“It’s a derby match and I’ll have to make sure our players know and Falkirk and Dunfermline’s history. I certainly know about it through my years as a player.
“The emphasis is, yes, try to play and pass, but also remember that you’re going to get challenged. That’s what happens in derbies, whether it’s the Celtic-Rangers derby, the Falkirk-Dunfermline derby.
“You’ve got teams that are that bit more up and ready for it, so we’ll have to be. That’s the only thing I’ll need to keep at the players, to recognise how important to the supporters this game is.
“Dunfermline is a big club, in many ways, and a bit like Falkirk in terms of their stature. They’ve had a few rattles through the years, going down the divisions and back up.
“They’ve come back strong and they’ve spent a few quid in getting players in, so we’re going to be in for a really, really tough game.”