As Grangemouth’s flares burned, the metaphorical black cloud hanging in the air was realised for Falkirk a couple of miles along the road. Concern about the cloud’s fumes was mirrored with fan worries about their tenth placed team.
The atmosphere at Westfield is becoming poisonous with a misfiring team, a delayed fan ownership scheme, relegation on the horizon and mistrust in the air.
The heat is now on the Bairns – directors, management and players – who are facing the big-spending top two next with their second tier status swinging in the wind.
Ray McKinnon needed a big performance from his players and got it. From just two of the 14 involved. By his own admission he received the opposite and could be heard telling them so in the dressing room at the break.
Falkirk followed that by showing why they have been the worst side in the division this season against a Morton side not short of their own problems. They fought their way out though and are now almost certainly safe from automatic relegation. Falkirk are in deep deep trouble, and didn’t play with the belief that they could escape their self-inflicted plight.
The first half of the season is what’s done for Falkirk, but it was the second half here. Only two of the players beginning the second half were around then and improvements this calendar year were far removed from this limp performance – struggling with injury or not.
Robby McCrorie was not tested nearly enough, Harry Burgoyne had no chance at either of the goals, the defence wobbled and the midfield was overrun – in part by Michael Tidser. He has agreed to join the Bairns for next season – but there’s still time to change his mind.
Gregor Buchanan, another linked with a summer move to Falkirk, strode through the match against his hometown team. If this was an audition for transfer here’s what Falkirk could have won. A move home now could be a step down but on this showing Falkirk could certainly use him.
Case in point Ciaran McKenna and William Edjenguele’s keystone cops defending for the Ton’s second when both headed one another and let the visitors pick their spot and unpick Falkirk’s faint hopes of Championship survival. Greg Kiltie had already put them ahead, then Charlie Telfer made sure.
When he needed a steady base for a flourishing forward-line Ray McKinnon got neither. He expected better, the Falkirk supporters deserve better, but this has been a horror season exhibited by the past week from the high of a derby win to boardroom hold-ups to the fan ownership proposals and now a meek defeat and limp drop back to the basement of the league.
Can it get any worse? Well Saturday’s results all conspired against the Bairns and for their rivals. And with dark clouds on the horizon in even this the sunniest of springs, what is it they say? It never rains but it pours.