PETER Houston hopes being able to give his Falkirk squad some extra time off has prepared them mentally for the challenges of the festive period.
Having earned a bye through to the fourth round of the Scottish Cup after finishing second in last season’s Championship, the Bairns were idle at the weekend.
Houston took the opportunity to reward his players with an extended break, from the end of Wednesday’s training session to their return on Monday morning.
It allowed the likes of Peter Grant, Myles Hippolyte and Luke Leahy to visit family down south and recharge their batteries.
And Houston is hopeful the lay-off wlll pay dividends when they return to the pitch to host St Mirren on Saturday.
He said: “The players only had one more day off than they would normally have.
“But, for example, Peter Grant hadn’t seen his mother since the summer and Myles Hippolyte hadn’t seen his family for a while either.
“Luke Leahy hadn’t been down to his home in Coventry in a while to see his parents and family.
“That’s where it becomes a good thing.
“And the buzz from the dressing room when they came back in on Monday was louder than normal, because they were all back with one another.
“I feel that mentally they’re in a better place because they’ve had some time off.
“It was like going back for the first day after pre-season in some ways because the players hadn’t seen each other and were probably all talking about what they had been up to.
“They’ve trained well and the focus is on St Mirren.”
Falkirk earned their first win in five games the last time out against Ayr United and, after draws with Hibs and Morton, are now unbeaten in three.
This weekend, they will be hoping to make it back-to-back wins for the first time since September as they kick off a spell that also includes clashes with Queen of the South, Dunfermline, Hibs and Raith Rovers.
Houston added: “Coming off the back of a good result away to Ayr United and a hard away game at Easter Road, the one thing we missed was the chance to keep up the momentum.
“But, in the same breath, we’re getting that time off and the free weekend because of their success in finishing second last season.
“Giving them a break has looked like a good thing but results will tell.”