Falkirk v Saints preview

Last updated : 15 October 2009 By Stuart Gillespie
It was a performance from nowhere. After months of dross, we suddenly produced a majestic display of football. As one report so beautifully put it, Billy Mehmet was Pele and Jack Ross was Cafu. I can't remember a performance like it either before or since. We'd hit rock bottom. It was do or die time in terms of SPL survival - and we did. And typically, I missed it - but that's beside the point.

Where that performance came from is a mystery. None of those players had done anything like it before, and certainly haven't produced anything like it since. Perhaps what they were facing had finally hit home. If that's the case, it would be harsh to expect a similar performance tomorrow. However, we have to go at Falkirk from the off once more, look for the win - not the draw - and see where that takes us.

There is, however, one problem. This time Falkirk are the crisis team. They haven't won a game yet this season and they are making our strikers look prolific. In short, they've reached the stage where we like to help out. We could be the best team in the world, but we'll still mess it up against a struggling side. No matter the managers, players or division, if we come up against a side in need of a win, we usually give them it.

I'll focus on Saints for now. The international break has allowed Lee Mair to regain full fitness, but Chris Smith, Steven Robb, Michael Higdon and Mo Camara are all still out. That means we could stick with the team that beat Hearts a fortnight ago. However, it's perhaps time for Hugh Murray to be dropped. Shuggy missed pre-season and his form is struggling. A spell on the sidelines may help him recapture it. If he does make way, expect Garry Brady or Allan Johnston (yes, he does exist) to take his place. Aside from that I think it'll be same again, although I wouldn't complain if Chris Innes started in defence.

Falkirk suffered the loss of manager John Hughes during the summer when he jumped ship to Hibs. Brian Rice has replaced him and has had a terrible start to say the least. No wins and no goals since August are the sort of form we usually display at the start of a season! Of course, it can't continue for ever and, as I mentioned above, we'll probably help them turn things around.

They have some dangerous players. Striker Kjartan Finnbogason is a bit of a Football Manager hero of me, while fellow forward Carl Finnigan has scored against us in the past and nearly signed for us a few years back. Ryan Flynn, who is on loan from Falkirk, is very dangerous down the wings and they have former Saint Burton O'Brien pulling the strings in midfield. OK, it may not sound as threatening as the likes of the players the Old Firm have at their disposal, but you take the Bairns lightly at your peril.