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Report Index--> 2008-09--> All for 20080913
<-Page <-Team Sat 13 Sep 2008 Falkirk 2 Hearts 1 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Daily Record ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Csaba Laszlo <-auth Craig Swan auth-> Steve Conroy
[N McCann 3] ;[S Arfield 89]
14 of 016 Michael Stewart 71 L SPL A

Falkirk 2-1 Hearts

Sep 15 2008 Craig Swan Reports

MATCH-WINNER Scott Arfield hopes his stunning strike will finally stop him being savaged in the Falkirk dressing room.

The Scotland Under-21 kid blasted a sensational last-gasp clincher to give John Hughes' troops a priceless first SPL win of the season.

It was sweet for Arfield - but even sweeter as he did it his way.

The midfielder's goal return has been meagre since breaking into the top team and his lugs have bled with the abuse from his team-mates and boss.

Hughes has been on his case for trying to be too clever and cute and urged his teenager to give any shooting chances a good old-fashioned thump.

So when sub Steve Lovell saved a lost cause and rolled an 89th-minute ball into Arfield's path 20 yards from goal, he must have been tempted to try to take the paint off it. But he remained true to his beliefs.

Using his right instep, the youngster generated enough power and precision to beat keeper Marian Kello, sink shattered Hearts and hand Hughes and the jubilant Bairns punters a valuable win.

Arfield loved it. It's unclear if it was the win bonus or the thought of his ears getting a break that brought his delight but his gaffer and colleagues couldn't have cared less. He said: "All the boys have been telling me I should improve on my scoring.

I've said that myself too. In training the gaffer is always telling me to strike through the ball so I'm glad I placed it and proved them all wrong.

"We feel relief because it is the first three points in the fifth game. It was important to win.

"We didn't panic as we'd played the Old Firm and Hibs away in our first three games and then Inverness. Injuries hampered us but the gaffer stuck by his philosophies and they showed as we won here.

"Hopefully I'll get my goal tally to double figures now this season. That is what I'd like to get."

There's nothing like sweeping optimism but you couldn't blame Arfield or Falkirk for basking in the moment.

Make no mistake, this was a vital day. Four games and no points going into the encounter made it that way.

Hughes, to his credit, had never bleated about the injury problems his squad had to contend with in the opening month. But against Hearts he was able to get key men such as Neil McCann, Burton O'Brien and Tam Scobbie back into the starting line-up.

The transformation was evident in 150 seconds. Graham Barrett's cross from the left found debutant McCann in the box and a subtle first touch left him with Kello to beat. He calls his right peg "the axe" but the ex-Jambo swung it to perfection to beat the Hearts keeper at the far post.

Falkirk were alive. They passed it, moved it and looked like their old selves with a vibrant mix of youth and experience.

In front at half-time they tried to build, but Hearts deserved great praise for a terrific second-half show.

Inspired by the brilliant Michael Stewart, they pinned Falkirk back and, with 19 minutes remaining, it was fitting the "skipper without the armband" blasted a magical 20-yard leveller.

Csaba Laszlo's men were on the up and Falkirk, with the chance of a first point, could have been forgiven for taking it. But that is not the Hughes way and Arfield's winner was a sparkling ending to a terrific advert for the SPL.

It was feisty and it was fiery but it had skill, three superb goals and not even Steve Conroy's pompous display with the whistle could ruin it.

Hammering refs is an easy game but if they want respect from players and managers the type of arrogant summoning of O'Brien which Conroy displayed by a corner flag in the opening seconds is not the way to get it.

Nonetheless, the win should start a Falkirk climb up the SPL and there should be no tears shed for Hearts. Laszlo's team were caught by McCann's early sucker punch but their determination, drive and desire to fight back would not have been lost on a support which, in the past, has seen too many players chuck in the towel in the face of adversity.

The coach seems to have fostered a real spirit among the camp and although they left Wesfield with nothing as skipper Christophe Berra hit the bar in stoppage time, that type of hunger could easily see them as the nearest challengers to the Old Firm this term.

Icelander Eggert Jonsson was honest enough to said: "It's a sore one but we need to keep going and make sure we get three points in the next game.

"I thought we started not so well and lost a goal, but we did well second-half and did not deserve to lose after equalising but that's football.

"I felt we were on top and they scored two goals with two shots. There are a lot of positives to take with the way we went about it.

"Although Falkirk had no points, they are a good team and a draw would have been good."

But Jonsson and his team didn't get it. Maybe they would have if Arfield had done what he'd been told.


Jackie McNamara (Falkirk)



46 54


4 3


5 4


3 5


15 16


1 2



Robert Olejnik: Beaten by Stewart's sizzling drive but generally decent display. 6

Jackie McNamara: Defended bravely and stayed calm when things got hot. 8

Lee Bullen: Had to do some last-ditch defending but pretty decent. 7

Darren Barr: Stood tall as Hearts charged at him in the second half. A good display from the Scotland kid. 8

Tam Scobbie: Didn't shirk a tackle. 7

Scott Arfield: Busy in midfield and scored brilliant last-gasp winner. 7

Kevin McBride: Nice and tidy. 7

Burton O'Brien: Thrusting runs a feature of first half. 6

Neil McCann: Perfect start to his debut with a sublime first touch and finish. 7

Graeme Barrett: Terrific work rate. Tortured Wallace down right early doors. 8

Michael Higdon: Relished the physical battle. 6

Subs: Steve Lovell - great work for Arfield's winner, 5. Patrick Cregg - tightened up midfield, 2. Mark Stewart - tried to get forward, 2.



Marian Kello: Not much he could do with goals. 7

Eggert Jonsson: Getting used to right-back role. 6

Christophe Berra: Hit the bar with an injury-time header. 7

Marius Zaliukas: Didn't give Higdon an inch. 6

Lee Wallace: Nightmare early spell but got better. 6

Adrian Mrowiec: Denied a debut goal by McNamara's goal-line clearance. 6

Cristos Karipidis: Can do better. 6

Michael Stewart: Noarmband but a real leader. Lifted his side in the second half with determination, skill and a great goal. 8

Laryea Kingston: Did okay but team need even more from him. 6

Saulius Mikoliunas: Offered little. 5 Jamie Mole: Gave his all as lone striker but subbed after 51 minutes. 5

Subs: Audrius Ksanavicius - lively, 3. Christian Nade - didn't look sharp enough to cause a problem, 2. Ruben Palazuelos - only on three minutes from time, 1.


Take your pick from three terrific goals from McCann, Arfield and Stewart.

Taken from the Daily Record

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