Last throw of the dice for Ray McKinnon as Falkirk fight for survival

Falkirk boss Ray McKinnon is aiming for a win over Ross County in a bid to make the play-offs. Picture: Kenny Smith/SNS
Falkirk boss Ray McKinnon is aiming for a win over Ross County in a bid to make the play-offs. Picture: Kenny Smith/SNS
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Falkirk manager Ray McKinnon admits that his relegation threatened Bairns are in a “horrible” position but a win over visiting champions Ross County is possible and that safety can be secured via the play-offs.

A win and a nine-goal swing over Queen of the South could even see Falkirk finishing eighth but McKinnon would settle for ninth. “When I came the club would have accepted the play-offs and we could still make them,” he explained.

“It is a horrible situation as we have to rely on other teams, but we will look to win and see where we end up.

“The fixture is as tough as it comes. Ross County may not have anything to play for but they are full of confidence.”

County offered little 
comfort, with co-manager Stuart Kettlewell saying: “It would be disrespectful to the rest of the Championship if we did not play our strongest team.”

Partick Thistle head to Queen of the South with assistant manager Brian Kerr convinced that team unity will help the Jags secure the point they need for survival.

The Firhill players were asked to pick their starting XI this week, with manager Gary Caldwell keen to find out who they trusted, but the WhatsApp request was leaked and Caldwell was forced to defend his actions.

Kerr reckons that the leak has worked in Thistle’s favour. He said: “It is ironic that an exercise that was designed to see who the players trusted on the park has highlighted trust in another area. The fact that the exercise made its way into various papers upset the rest of the group as they felt it was an in-house affair.

“They have actually pulled tighter together as they know who can be trusted now.”

The player involved in the leak will not feature, with Kerr adding: “It was disappointing that a novel idea was highlighted negatively, however it ended up galvanising everyone, so we are heading to Queen of the South in good shape.”

Meanwhile, Queens manager Gary Naysmith reckons that keeping things simple will help his side. “Things are in our hands. If we win, we are safe and that is the way we have to look at things,” said Naysmith. “Thistle have the added benefit of a draw keeping them safe, but I will send our players out with one instruction and that is to win.”

Naysmith also believes that the team that faces up to what is at stake will prevail. “We feel that, based on how well we did in the first half of the season, we should not be in this position,” he said. “Based on the squad Thistle have they will feel they should not be in this position, however we both are. It will all be about who 
handles that the best.”

Second-bottom Alloa face a host Ayr side looking for a win to secure third place, with the Wasps out to earn the point that would avoid automatic relegation and the win that would avoid the play-offs.

Manager Jim Goodwin said: “After being written off for most of the season we are fired up and will go looking for a win. I am sure that our boys will fight and scrap to get what we need.”

Second-placed Dundee United, who have a ten-day break before they start in the play-offs, pitch up at Cappielow against a Morton side who aim to finish fifth.

Inverness warm up for their play-off meeting with Ayr by facing a visiting Dunfermline side out to end a seven-game run without a win.