better meddle...

wi' the de'il than the bairns o' fa'kirk

Match Report

Sunday, 16th November, 2008

by Gavin Berry

Falkirk 1-0 Motherwell

JOHN HUGHES thanked Gerard Aafjes for inspiring Falkirk to victory with a magazine article slaughtering the club and Scotland.

The Bairns boss revealed the Dutchman was embarrassed by the interview in which he claimed the country was a nightmare to live in and his team lacked a cutting edge.

Hughes told how injured Aafjes' words - from a mag in his homeland - were pinned on the dressing-room wall and the move paid off with Michael Higdon bagging the winner.

And the gaffer said the player was right when he branded Scotland "a grey, drab, wet land" but Falkirk was certainly sunnier after this victory.

Yogi dedicated the win to Aafjes and said: "I'm delighted with the three points and that winning goal is for big Gerard.

"We're all together at this club. We said before the game that if we won it was for him - that's the spirit."

"I've read the article and a lot of what he said is 100 per cent correct, especially the bit where he said his gaffer looks like Brad Pitt!"

"He was upset about it but I told the guys to do the business then after it we told Gerard it was for him. He did the interview but felt bits and pieces were taken out of context."

"It gave us the motivation to pin it on the board, it brings you closer together and gave us the spur to do the business."

"It's quite amusing because a lot of what he says is true about it raining and blowing a gale but it's not Spain he stays in, it's Holland and any time I go there it's pouring!"

After three consecutive draws it was on to winning ways for Falkirk thanks to Higdon's well-taken strike that punished Well for missing good early chances.

The Fir Park side spurned a great chance to open the scoring in 12 minutes when Lee Bullen and Darren Barr got in a tangle as they tried to clear Keith Lasley's ball in to the box.

That left David Clarkson with a tap-in but he lost his balance and shot wide.

Well went close again. The ball fell to Marc Fitzpatrick inside the box. His first shot was blocked by Bullen and when it broke to him again he sent his second wide.

But it was Falkirk who took the lead eight minutes before the break with a swift counter attack and killer punch.

Scott Arfield started it with a ball to Graham Barrett wide on the right.

The Irishman then found Higdon who took it on his chest before turning Robert Malcolm and lashing a powerful shot that cannoned in off the inside of a post.

Delighted Hughes said: "You'll be hard pushed to get a better team goal than ours, five-man with one and two touches, a good final ball and excellent finish."

Mark McGhee changed things early the second half when Lasley was replaced by Chris Porter - much to the fury of the Well support who jeered the decision and chanted the captain's name.

Falkirk should have put the game beyond doubt soon after that when Barrett's shot was saved by Graeme Smith.

And when Burton O'Brien played the rebound back to the Falkirk striker he hit a post with the goal gaping.

Bairns almost paid the price when Jamie Murphy played in fellow sub Porter but Scott Flinders made a brilliant one-handed save.

REF WATCH: WILLIE COLLUM can be happy with his afternoon's work, doing everything that was asked of him and letting play flow in a match with little controversy highlighted by the fact there were no bookings. Rating: 7/10.