better meddle...

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

Match Report

Saturday, 18th November, 2023

by Ben Kearney

3 things we learned as Falkirk stunned Dundee United to reach SPFL Trust Trophy semis

Falkirk are into the semi-finals of the SPFL Trust Trophy after stunning Championship leaders Dundee United - scoring three goals in six minutes to turn around a thrilling tie.

That 4-2 victory over Jim Goodwin's side on Friday night, stretches the Bairns' unbeaten run to 17 matches in all competitions, while ending the Terrors' unbeaten run which also stood at 17 matches.

Callumn Morrison caught Leon McCann's lofted cross early on to fire the home side in front, but United weathered the early storm from a rampant Falkirk to lead 2-1 half an hour into the match.

The returning Sam Long in net, who replaced Nicky Hogarth after he made a calamitous last time out, suffered the same fate - fumbling Mathew Cudjoe's curling effort over his own goalline to level before Tony Watt took advantage of slack defending to give the visitors a lead against the run of play.

But Falkirk continued to push, and eventually got a deserved equaliser when Tom Lang poked home on 64 minutes after Morrison's free-kick crashed off the bar.

Then, in a quite incredible couple of minutes of play, John McGlynn's men surged into the semi-finals, scoring another two goals against a team who had only conceded six altogether so during their league campaign.

Fans' favourite Finn Yeats finally got his Falkirk goal - firing home expertly in the box after Calvin Miller's shot was parried back into the danger area. Morrison then bagged a double when he took advantage of Kevin Holt's horrific back pass. He calmly rounded the goalkeeper to send the Bairns into the final four.

Fins a fans' favourite - and a real find

We already knew this one - Finn Yeats is a real find. What a season the former Aberdeen youngster is having. Having been shunted out to right-back for this campaign, it may have looked in the summer like a quick-fix to the Bairns struggles in that area of the park, but the 19-year-old has truly made the position his own.

Boss John McGlynn made it clear that Yeats has been the plan for that position throughout the summer and you can see why the by-trade-midfielder suits the role. His energy and running is infectious. His tacking is solid and he is starting to really show something in attacking areas too.

That's now 60 appearances in Navy Blue for Yeats and is no doubt he will be chasing down the 100 mark. A free transfer, pound for pound, he must be one the best signings Falkirk have made for a long time.

"He's been knocking on the door for a wee while has Finn in terms of scoring," McGlynn said post-match. "I'm delighted for him - he certainly buried that one."

Morrison's the man - again

That's another two goals for Callumn Morrison to add to his impressive Falkirk tally. And another top performance too. When he is at his best, like against Dundee United, there is an argument to suggest that he is one of the best wide attackers throughout the lower leagues.

His first goal was a real touch of class. He caught Leon McCann's perfect cross at the back post and struck it under Jack Walton. It was the perfect finish. He also got into the right area and managed to find a free space in the box, he's an intelligent player too and he probably doesn't get credit for that enough.

His second was another example of that too, he was alive to what could happen, and it paid off big time. He managed to nick and round the goalkeeper with ease - a sign of a player that believes in himself.

There is a good chance that Morrison could end this campaign as the Bairns' top goalscorer again. You can only imagine that even most Championship teams wish that they had the quality in wide areas that Falkirk can call upon.

Goalkeeping battle

There is a battle for the number one spot at Falkirk for a different reason now. Both Sam Long and Nicky Hogarth have now made massive mistakes in recent games (with both occasions not proving costly in the end) and boss John McGlynn will have a decision to make going into the Formartine United Scottish Cup tie on Saturday.

Both Long and Hogarth have shown this season in spells that they can make stunning saves, and that they can distribute the ball well from the back, but they will looking to eradicate mistakes from their game.

Long took to social media after the match to say: "Boys got me out of jail today! Great group of lads and a top team performance."