As the fall-out from a breathless encounter between Rangers and Hibernian continues, Falkirk quietly, and without fanfare, leapfrogged Alan Stubbs’ side into second spot in the Championship. Just the way they like it.
Make no mistake, the dark horses are raising a gallop, the Bairns sustaining their outstanding festive form as Lee Miller rolled back the years with a clinical brace to secure a hard-fought 2-0 win over Livingston.
And whisper it, this was one of those ‘performance of champions’ you hear about: a miserable, attritional encounter sabotaged by a persistent gale and lacking in clear-cut chances. Yet, the Bairns found a way to grind out a vital victory to join Hibs on 41 points and move to within three of Rangers, albeit their rivals from Glasgow and Edinburgh possess a game in hand.
Peter Houston’s men also boast the best home defensive record in Scotland, having conceded just three league goals at the Falkirk Stadium.
With the wind causing havoc with high balls, Livi almost took the lead in bizarre circumstances after ten minutes as Morgyn Neill’s aimless chip into the box almost looped over Danny Rogers, however the keeper managed to tip the ball clear of the bar. The visitors, undefeated in two games under caretaker boss David Hopkin prior to this fixture, threatened again when Myles Hippolyte found Liam Buchanan but he directed his header against the post.
Stung into life, Falkirk emerged a different team after the break. They opened the scoring on 56 minutes when Blair Alston picked out Miller with a pin-point low cross, allowing the big striker to prod home from close range.
It took just four minutes for him to put the game to bed. Aaron Muirhead delivered a teasing cross and Miller glanced a header beyond Darren Jamieson.
There was still time for Rogers to palm away a Hippolyte header from six yards but Livingston failed to find a way back into the contest.