Falkirk win leaves Hibs hoping for cup consolation
Bob McHugh’s injury time goal handed victory to the hosts who had opened the scoring and then fell behind, only to claw their back into the match. The 4-3 aggregate victory was Falkirk’s first over Hibs in six meetings this season.
A sell-out 7,851 crowd at the Falkirk Stadium were treated to a fine exhibition of Championship football.
A brace from James Keatings appeared to put the visitors in the driving seat but as so often this season they failed to hold their lead.
Keatings, a surprise inclusion in place of Jason Cummings, converted a penalty and then headed home an Anthony Stokes cross to make it 2-1 following Blair Alston’s opener. Luke Leahy equalised and the game looked set for extra-time before McHugh’s winner.
Falkirk will now play Kilmarnock on Thursday and Sunday for a place in the Premiership. The game offers the Bairns a chance for revenge on their Ayrshire opponents who beat them in 2010 to confirm their relegation.
Shellshocked Hibs must put this disappointment behind them for the Scottish Cup Final against Rangers on Saturday.
Hibs now face another season in the second tier, their third in a row, and will be nervous about losing the services of manager Alan Stubbs who has been linked with vacancies in England.
It will also put pressure on the club’s finances after Stubbs was given leeway to invest in players in the hope of Premiership football next season.
The Easter Road outfit’s latest accounts show that for the year to the end of July last year it made a loss of £840,000 after tax, which chairman Rod Petrie said was a result of choosing to run Hibs as a “Premiership club”.
This was a reduction on the £1.2 million loss in the previous financial year and the balance sheet is stronger after clearing a £6m debt, raising new bank finance and support from a share issue.
FALKIRK: Rogers, Muirhead, McCracken, Watson, Leahy, Alston (Shepherd 71), Kerr (Hippolyte 58), Vaulks, Sibbald, Baird (Miller 58), McHugh. Subs not used: McCann, Mehmet, O’Hara, Gallacher.
HIBERNIAN: Logan, Gray, McGregor, Hanlon, Stevenson, McGeouch (Bartley 38), Fyvie, McGinn, Henderson, Stokes, Keatings (Cummings 82). Subs not used: Oxley, Fontaine, Boyle, Gunnarsson, Dagnall.