Falkirk 1 - 2 Dunfermline: Higginbotham and Aird score as Pars stay third

Dunfermline's Kallum Higginbotham in action. Picture: SNS/Roddy Scott
Dunfermline's Kallum Higginbotham in action. Picture: SNS/Roddy Scott
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Once a hero in these parts, the jewel in the crown of Steven Pressley’s free-flowing Bairns ensemble, Kallum Higginbotham’s every touch was mercilessly jeered at the Falkirk Stadium, but the Dunfermline playmaker effectively silenced his detractors as he inspired the Pars to a 2-1 triumph.

So often a hit-and-miss talent, Higginbotham, inset, was petulantly sent off on his last visit to his old stomping ground in November.

Determined to make amends, he was at his mercurial best yesterday, involved in everything the visitors did well including opening the scoring with a powerful, albeit deflected, drive from distance.

As the ball rippled the net, Higginbotham dashed towards the home supporters in the South and main stands, pointedly thumping his badge and provoking a barrage of seethe. His love affair with Falkirk has certainly endured a messy divorce.

Fraser Aird doubled the Pars’ advantage before they showed their gutsy side in the aftermath of Aaron Muirhead’s clinically converted late penalty to claim the spoils

“I’m delighted for Higgy, because in the last game here he let himself and his team-mates down,” said his manager Allan Johnston, whose side have taken 17 points from a possible 21. “He’s made up for that. He showed character in the face of a lot of stick, watched his tackles and kept his discipline.

“He is a big player for us and it’s no coincidence that our fortunes have turned around since he’s started playing well.

“We’ve got momentum and this was a fantastic win at a venue where we have struggled, but we need to continue that.”

Higginbotham took just 24 minutes to illuminate the contest at a rocking Falkirk Stadium, with his ferocious drive from distance taking a wicked deflection off the unfortunate Tommy Robson past the helpless Hazard.

The visitors deservedly double their advantage just four minutes after the break. A slick attack culminated in Declan McManus sliding a wonderful low cross to the back-post where Aird was on-hand to tap into an empty net.

The Bairns then came close twice through Jordan McGhee and Aaron Muirhead.

A grandstand finale was assured when referee Don Robertson adjudged Nicky Clark to have tripped McGhee in the box during a goal-mouth scramble. Muirhead slotted home his fifth successful penalty-kick of the campaign, but the Pars stood firm.

Falkirk boss Paul Hartley rued: “I don’t feel we started to play until we were 2-0 down, which is too late.”