Monday Verdict: Falkirk’s sticky situation continues in Tunnock’s Caramel Cup defeat to Raith Rovers

Pictures: Michael Gillen.
Pictures: Michael Gillen.
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Toothless. The worst way to be when faced with a 
Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer. And exactly what Falkirk were in Kirkcaldy.

And Airdrie. And Cumbernauld. Indeed on each of their away games this season stretching back to the start of the campaign at Peterhead.

Pictures: Michael Gillen.

Pictures: Michael Gillen.

The blanks haven’t been too costly until now. The season won’t hinge on a defeat at Clyde or two other draws – if it doesn’t end in a league title and promotion there will be more causes than just these three games. But on Saturday the lack of goals DID cost Falkirk silverware.

IN PICTURES: Raith Rovers 2 Falkirk 0 - 90 minutes in nine images

This was a Rovers’ side who shipped four goals to East Fife last week and a defence that wasn’t troubled by Falkirk’s frontline.

It’s now 304 minutes since Connor Sammon’s shoulder registered the last Bairns’ goal and the joy of six against Dumbarton is fading fast in the memory.

Pictures: Michael Gillen.

Pictures: Michael Gillen.

Denny Johnstone, spearheading the attack played well if not threatening. As an exercise in getting the ex-Birmingham striker fitter and sharper it worked. He gradually grew more confident as the game went on and sent a diving header wide in the first half in one of two half-chances for the visitors.

But this was not a training exercise for Johnstone, or other fringe players like Lewis Moore. It was a competitive game in a tournament where Falkirk have a proud, and record-setting, past. A competition they were among the favourites to win despite their league status.

FROM THE TERRACES: Raith Rovers 2 Falkirk 0 - your views

The onus for silverware will rest on that divisional trophy then after two penalties, the second a particularly soft one, despatched by Regan Hendry while another slammed off the bar for Charlie Telfer late on to sum up a miserable day.

Pictures: Michael Gillen.

Pictures: Michael Gillen.

“The league is the priority and we’ll re-group but as we’re disappointed with that, it’s given me an idea of who is ready to play and who isn’t,” said Ray McKinnon. He’s right. Just as the season won’t hinge on losing to Clyde his job isn’t reliant on the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cup. It’s about the league and promotion, and the same again the year after that.

IN QUOTES: Raith Rovers 2 Falkirk 0 - managers’ verdicts

But the distinct lack of goals over recent weeks isn’t helping the cause or the support’s patience, which is becoming wafer thin.

Falkirk have the best squad of players in League One. Of that there is little doubt. But they need to start showing it. The boss made seven changes to the team, and little was served in Kirkcaldy to suggest he won’t need to make around that figure again on Saturday. It might be the best squad but it’s short on depth judging by Saturday and the continual recruitment work going on which brought in David McMillan last week.

Pictures: Michael Gillen.

Pictures: Michael Gillen.

The Bairns need to bite back. The fans are finding it hard to swallow. A return home, and return to form, against Forfar is a prospect for Falkirk to really get their teeth into, to get back on scoresheet, and get this season back on course.

MATCH REPORT: Raith Rovers 2 Falkirk 0

Pictures: Michael Gillen.

Pictures: Michael Gillen.