Peter Houston can leave Falkirk with head held high, says Alex Smith as veteran admits to being shocked at being back in the dugout

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ALEX SMITH has expressed shock at his return to the dugout at the age of 77 and is adamant departed manager Peter Houston can leave Falkirk with his head held high.

Smith has been placed in interim charge of the Bairns after the club’s board reached agreement for Houston to leave with his backroom team of James McDonaugh and Alan Maybury following a dismal winless start to the Championship season.

The veteran former Aberdeen and St Mirren boss has assumed control with experienced players Mark Kerr and Lee Miller, and academy director Michael Mcardle.

And he has confessed to surprise at being back in charge of a team 12 years after leaving his last managerial role at Ross County and four years since stepping in when Steven Pressley left for Coventry City in March 2013.

He told @CCP_sport: “I didn’t think I would be back in this position, I must say. I thought after the last time that would be it.

“But I’ll help the club and do the best I can.

“I’ve surrounded myself with good people, in academy director Michael Mcardle and Mark Kerr and Lee Miller, who are young coaches but very experienced players and are steeped in Falkirk tradition.

“They’ll be gaining experience in the next few weeks and whilst they’re doing that they’ll be helping the club come through this.

“It’s been an incredible six weeks or two months. We were flying in the first half a dozen games, playing really well and everything was going well.

“We thought we were going in the right direction after the play-offs last season and we were looking forward to the league starting.

FORWARD

“But it went wrong at St Mirren on the first day and we’ve suffered since that game. Confidence has been low and it’s come to this.

“I would like to think Peter will leave with his head up and leave knowing he’s had a really good three years here.

“It’s just gone wrong in the last month or two and he will be disappointed he’s not got the opportunity to pull the club forward out of the dip.”

Smith also expressed sympathy for McDonaugh and Maybury, who many thought could be in line to succeed Houston at the club after helping the club to successive play-offs in the last two seasons.

The former Scotland under-21 coach added: “I would like to think the two coaches, who are excellent at their work, won’t be very long out of the game.

“Certainly, I’ll be recommending them to anybody who asks me about them.

“They’ve been very good at their job but the board has decided that, because in the past there’s been problems with managers bringing in their own staff, they wanted to make a clean cut of it.

“It’s a shame because both of them are very good and hopefully too good not to get back into the game.”

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