Bad to worse for St Mirren; Falkirk keep tabs on the top

Jack Baird is rather harshly sent off for deliberate handball. Picture: SNS
Jack Baird is rather harshly sent off for deliberate handball. Picture: SNS
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It is only a third of the way into the Championship season but Falkirk gave their play-off hopes a significant boost and at the same time gave St Mirren’s a real dent by racking up a 3-0 win over the Paisley side at the weekend.

Falkirk manager Peter Houston was watching from the Main Stand at the Falkirk Stadium, serving a one-match touchline ban for his comments in the aftermath of last month’s 3-1 defeat from Rangers.

But he was on his feet applauding after 18 minutes when John Baird picked out Craig Sibbald at the back post and he sent a header past Jamie Langfield to put the Bairns one up. Falkirk then took advantage of Andy Webster being off the park for treatment to double their lead just before the break, Baird diving to head in a Paul Watson cross.

St Mirren’s day got worse 18 minutes into the second half when Jack Baird was harshly sent off for deliberate handball some 30 yards from goal, before Will Vaulks hit home a trademark thunderous shot to make it 3-0 with 15 minutes left.

Saints were reduced to nine men when debutant Craig Reid was also dismissed three minutes from time for a trip on Kevin O’Hara.

Falkirk assistant manager James McDonaugh had some sympathy for his opponents. “I do not think the first sending off affected the outcome of the game but I would have been disappointed by it,” he said.

Buddies manager Ian Murray placed greater significance on that first red card. “Jack’s dismissal was a big decision and prevented us from really having a go at getting back into things,” he said. “We lost bad goals and that needs to stop.”

Livingston defeated Raith Rovers 3-0 and that second consecutive win has seen them climb above St Mirren and into eighth place.

Jordan White started the ball rolling by outjumping visiting goalkeeper Kevin Cuthbert and nodding in after seven minutes. Declan Gallagher scored the second with a header from a Gary Glen corner just after the hour mark, and White wrapped things up on 64 minutes with a low drive.

A revamped Queen of the South side cut the advantage that fourth-placed Raith have over them to four points after a 2-1 comeback win at Alloa.

Doonhamers manager James Fowler had made six changes after last weekend’s 4-1 defeat by Livingston and he must have been wondering what was coming his way when the Wasps stormed into the lead after just 35 seconds.

Graeme Holmes thumped the ball home from 20 yards after a free-kick had been partially cleared. Danny Lennon’s side held that advantage until half-time but Queen’s drew level with a goal 20 seconds into the second half when Gary Oliver prodded home from close range. Ten minutes later Fowler’s men were leading when Oliver turned the ball in after being spotted by Derek Lyle.

Morton won for the second week running as they defeated hosts Dumbarton 2-1. Joe McKee scored the opener four minutes from the break when he latched on to a Mark Brown punch 25 yards from goal and shot home.

The Sons levelled when skipper Darren Barr scrambled the ball in eight minutes after the break but Alex Samuel set up Denny Johnstone to strike the winner with five minutes left.