EVEN though Chris Higgins’ late own goal denied the visitors three points, caretaker boss James Fowler can feel he’s earned serious consideration for the vacant managerial position at Queen of the South with this deserved draw at Falkirk.
Scorers: Falkirk - Higgins 82 o.g; Queen of the South: Reilly 70
The former Kilmarnock player is certainly in the conversation about who will replace the departed Jim McIntrye. At 33 years old, he would be a young appointment, but this kind of hiring hasn’t done Dumbarton any harm, with Ian Murray enjoying great success over the last 18 months, and Fowler, pictured, would bring a wealth of top-flight experience from his days at Rugby Park. He certainly got the most out of his players against the team who finished just above them in the Championship last year, earning a satisfying point at the end of a tough week.
“I would like the job myself. That’s the reason I came here, to get on the coaching ladder,” Fowler said after the match. “It’s a wee bit sooner than I thought, with the way things have gone, but it’s something that I want to do. I spoke to the board before the game and I’ll hopefully speak to them either tonight or during the week, just to get the lay of the land.
“The lads have been great. Tuesday was obviously a low day since the boys had a great relationship with the manager. But they’ve come in and worked on Thursday and Friday and I think as today showed, their reaction has been great.”
Despite his inexperience in management it might be the right time for Queen of the South to take a chance on Fowler. This match had an almost pre-season friendly atmosphere for two thirds of the contest. While the general feeling is that the inclusion of Hearts, Hibs and Rangers has galvanised the league, it does leave a few clubs facing something of an identity crisis. Queen of the South, and Falkirk for that matter, are too good to go down, but it’s unrealistic to imagine they’d win promotion above two of the “big three”.
Fowler showed some tactical acumen in his debut in the managerial role, particularly with regards to his side’s initial set-up. The visitors looked to stay tight and hit Falkirk on the break and they created the best opportunities over the course of the match.
Derek Lyle could have opened the scoring inside ten minutes when he was released on the right side of the penalty area before shooting into the legs of Jamie MacDonald.
The second half continued the uneventful nature of the first before the contest came to life in a hectic four-minute spell that began with Roy Loy’s shot for the hosts edging just past the far post. From there Queens went up the other end where Lyle almost scored from 40 yards after MacDonald’s clearance went right to his feet, but the keeper atoned for the error with a fantastic save from Gavin Reilly a minute later.
It was from this corner, however, that the visitors took the lead. After the ball was initially cleared, Ian McShane floated a ball over the top for Danny Carmichael to run on to and his cut-back found Reilly who swept the ball high into the net.
Falkirk’s inability to create chances meant their goal was quite a surprise when it arrived, albeit in fortuitous circumstances. Craig Sibbald’s free kick from the right was hacked at by defender Chris Higgins who could only send the ball spinning into his own goal.