The festive period is cited as many as crucial to any team wishing to end the season with success and three victories in the space of a week over Christmas and New Year has cemented Falkirk’s place in the Championship title race. John Baird’s 15th-minute goal was enough to add the scalp of bottom side Alloa Athletic to those of Dumbarton and Livingston to ensure the Bairns finished the day sandwiched between league leaders Rangers and third-placed Hibernian.
“It’s been a good week for us,” said Falkirk manager Houston, “but I don’t think it was a classic by any manner of means. But the most important thing is getting the result.
“We’ll play 100 times better against teams and not win, maybe. But the most important thing is three games in a week and nine points. I can’t ask for any more than that.”
For much of the rest of the opening half, Falkirk enjoyed the upper hand in both possession and they earned all three points with Baird’s clinical strike.
A corner from the training-ground saw Blair Alston’s set-piece from the right pick out Luke Leahy on the opposite side of the pitch. Will Vaulks, who has linked with interest from Sporting Lisbon, then engineered enough space for a shot and when McNeil only parried the effort Baird displayed trademark predatory instincts as he drilled in the rebound.
The Bairns had keeper Danny Rogers to thank for maintaining the advantage when he stuck out a strong left arm to block Robbie Crawford’s shot in the 29th minute.
“We were playing a team that’s on a terrific run and is rightly being seen as promotion contenders now,” said Alloa’s new manager, Jack Ross. “And I thought we matched them for long periods.”