Not even the last gasp rescuing of a point could keep Falkirk manager Ray Mckinnon and his assistant Darren Taylor in their jobs as the Bairns announced that they were “relieved of their duties” after Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Dumbarton.
Declan McManus’ last-minute penalty which cancelled out Isaac Layne’s first-half opener was the final act in a bizarre 15-month period for the former Brechin City, Raith Rovers, Dundee United and Morton boss.
McKinnon walked out of Cappielow unannounced to take over at the Falkirk Stadium in August 2018 and the nature of his departure, after only four months, resulted in Falkirk being fined £60,000 for inducing the 49-year-old and Taylor.
When McKinnon joined Falkirk, they were winless and bottom of the Championship after Paul Hartley’s brand-new team, consisting largely of young players recruited from England, had made a wretched start to the season.
McKinnon reshaped the side in the January and a season-high eighth position was reached in March. However, a run of only one win in eight games left Falkirk in bottom place ahead of a final-day meeting with champions Ross County.
A 3-2 win over the Dingwall men did not bring a reprieve from relegation, but optimism of a quick return grew in the summer when McKinnon brought in a host of players from Championship clubs and a takeover by American-based English businessman Mark Campbell looked on.
Campbell’s takeover never happened and, with his side sitting fourth,McKinnon has left six months before his contract was due to expire and Falkirk now look for their sixth new manager in just over six years.
McKinnon was loudly heckled at both half and full-time as he walked over the pitch and down the tunnel at the C & G Systems Stadium and he then talked about his team being “below average” in an interview with the club’s YouTube channel.
The axe fell little more than three hours later when a statement was issued which advised: “Falkirk can confirm that Ray McKinnon and Darren Taylor have been relieved of their duties as first-team manager and assistant manager with immediate effect.
“Interim chairman, Lex Miller and the board of directors wish to place on record their best wishes to Ray and Darren for the future.’
Despite their recent troubles the Falkirk job is highly sought after and former bosses John Hughes and Steven Pressley, who was sacked by Carlisle last week, were quickly linked with it.
It is believed that former Queen of the South manager Gary Naysmith, inset, who was interviewed previously by Falkirk after guiding East Fife into League 1, and is currently loans manager at Hearts, is another candidate. Darren Young who has guided a still part-time East Fife into a higher position in the table than the Bairns, and recently missed out on the Ayr United job, could also come into the reckoning.
Airdrie climbed into top spot when they defeated Stranraer 2-0 at Stair Park, the Diamonds taking the lead on 54 minutes when Kyle MacDonald’s wayward shot was side-footed home by Calum Gallagher.
Dale Carrick made sure of the three points in the final minute when he flicked in Leon McCann’s cross.
Montrose were denied a seventh consecutive win by hosts Peterhead who had the better of the few chances created.