Falkirk 0 - 0 Dundee United: Struggles continue in feisty clash

Dundee United and Falkirk players exchange words after a late Paul McMullan challenge. Picture: SNS/Gary Williamson
Dundee United and Falkirk players exchange words after a late Paul McMullan challenge. Picture: SNS/Gary Williamson
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Peter Houston believes Falkirk’s unusually slow start to the season is about to change dramatically after an encouraging performance against the title favourites.

He is still looking for a first league win six games into the campaign but there were clear signs that a concerted move up the table is impending.

That said, Scott McDonald will be wondering how on earth he did not win the game for United – which would have taken them joint top – after squandering a glorious chance on the stroke of half-time

Houston said: “If we play like that against other teams in the division then I feel we will start getting a run of victories.

“It was a good clean sheet but we probably didn’t create as much as we hoped.

“We were playing against a team that spent a lot of money in the summer building a team to try to get up and it was a tough game.

“There were times when we could have won it, and times when they could have won it, but I think a draw was fair.

“We defended very well and we have to give credit to the back four but we have to change these draws into wins.

“But I’m encouraged by the performance and I thought the attitude and the application was good while Alex Harris was very threatening at times.

“We’ve gone behind too many times so that’s why I demanded a clean sheet.”

Rory Loy and Craig Sibbald came close with headers in the fourth and 33rd minutes when they were supplied by Tony Gallacher, the former heading over and the latter having his effort tipped over.

However, the chance of the match fell to McDonald just before half-time but the normally deadly Aussie passed it up.

Paul McMullan’s cross seemed perfect but McDonald headed over the bar from close range.

United might have sealed the win with a fortunate cross shot in 82 minutes but McMullan’s effort hit the left post.

United manager Ray McKinnon said: “We probably had the best chance of the game. If anyone was going to score that goal it’s Scott McDonald but it was maybe an indication of our lack of confidence.

“We worked so hard all week on our defensive shape and I thought we were excellent. Our keeper had one save, so defensively we did very well.

“The only thing is that we didn’t have that belief in the final third to go and win the game. We got into great areas and there were a few half-chances but we just lacked that bit of confidence.

“We suffered a blow early when Paul Quinn had to go off. He had a tooth out during the week and had a big abscess and was told not to do anything for two days.

“He had been taking painkillers and he felt a bit disorientated. We took him straight off and William Edjenguele was a good replacement.

“It’s a really good point because there is no doubt Falkirk are underperforming. I don’t think anyone will come to Falkirk and have it easy.

“Once we click in that final third I will be really pleased.”