Falkirk Match Preview

Match Preview
Falkirk vs. Ayr United
Ladbrokes Championship
Saturday 24th September 2016

Ayr United are on the road again on Saturday as they travel to take on Falkirk. After a famous victory against Hibernian at Easter Road last weekend, the Honest Men are looking to extend their unbeaten run to five games and for a third consecutive league win.

The Bairns also recorded an impressive win at the weekend, defeating Dundee United at the Falkirk Stadium. Goals in the 87th and 89th minute from Myles Hippolyte and Lee Miller gave the home side a 3-1 win, a third in the row after victories over Dumbarton and Raith Rovers. Falkirk sit in fourth place in the table, three points ahead of Ayr in sixth.

Team News: Craig Moore is still out and Jamie Adams won’t be included due to the surface

Ian says: :”Just like last week we will be big underdogs. Falkirk’s aim is the Premier League and that’s what they are building towards so it shows you what a difficult task it will be. Like ourselves they also had an excellent result last week. It is a different type of pitch, one of the best artificial ones around. We haven’t gone overboard about last weeks result just like we didn’t go overboard after losing our first three games. This season will have ups and downs. What we do have now is confidence after a good run of results and performances. Its another game we are really looking forward to.”

The Opposition: Falkirk only narrowly missed out on promotion back to the Premiership in May after finishing second in the league. A dramatic last minute Bob McHugh goal saw them defeat Hibs 5-4 on aggregate in the play-off semi-final but the Bairns were unable to hold on to a one-goal advantage going into the second-leg of the final against Kilmarnock, disappointingly going down to a 4-0 defeat at Rugby Park.

Peter Houston has held on to the majority of the squad that came so close to promotion last season, with midfielders Blair Alston and Will Vaulks the only first team regulars to departure.

Experienced former Dundee United man John Rankin has been added to the squad, as have defenders Luca Gasparotto and Lewis Kidd. Highly rated Irish keeper Danny Rogers has joined on loan from Aberdeen again.

John Baird leads the goalscoring charts for Falkirk this season with four goals; McHugh and former Scotland international Lee Miller each have three strikes to their name.

Head-to-Head (all competitions):
Ayr United wins – 47
Draws – 32
Falkirk wins – 54

United have one win their last six away matches against Falkirk, that victory coming at Ochilview courtesy of a late Andy Ferguson goal.

Last meeting: the last meeting between Ayr United and Falkirk was at Somerset Park in the League Challenge Cup in August 2013. Rory Loy’s goal on the hour mark cancelled out Craig Malcolm’s first half opener before a Scott Shepherd goal in extra-time saw Falkirk progress.

The last league encounter between the sides was on the final weekend of the 2012/13 league season at the Falkirk Stadium. With Brian Reid preparing for the play-offs, a number of Academy players were drafted in and acquitted themselves well in a narrow 3-2 defeat.

Ayr lined up: McWilliams; Armstrong (Wylie), Longridge, C Smith, Robertson; Hutchinson, Crawford, McKernon, McGill (Campbell); Moffat, Paterson (Trouten). Michael Moffat scored both goals.

On this day: in 2002, Falkirk defeated Ayr in the League Cup at Somerset Park. Collin Samuel and Lee Miller were on the scoresheet for the Bairns. More recently, Ayr recorded a 1-0 win over Queen of the South in the First Division with a late Mark Roberts goal on this date in 2012, the last time the Honest Men competed in Scottish football’s second tier.

Match Officials:
Referee – William Collum
Assistant Referee 1 – Mark McLean
Assistant Referee 2 – Scott Leslie

Adult – £18
Conc – £12 (over 65, full-time students, unemployed, ambulant disabled, carer)
Under 18 – £6
Under 12 – £0 (maximum 4 per paying adult)
Wheelchair Disabled and Carer – Free of charge.

*proof must be provided