Hibernian 2-2 Falkirk

Falkirk's Bob McHugh and Craig Sibbald celebrate

Bob McHugh (left) scored Falkirk’s equaliser

Ten-man Falkirk came from behind with two goals in the closing minutes to snatch a dramatic draw with Hibernian.

Third-top Hibs looked on their way to victory with Jason Cummings goals early in the first half and then again, from a penalty, midway through the second.

The visitors then had Aaron Muirhead red-carded with 16 minutes remaining.

The second-top Bairns’ comeback was stunning, starting with David McCracken’s header and completed by another header from sub Bob McHugh.

Against all odds, Peter Houston’s team remain six points clear of Hibs, albeit having played two more games than Alan Stubbs’ side.

This was a game that Hibs had to win, not just because they needed to eat into Falkirk’s advantage over them in the battle for second place – and the avoidance of those extra play-off games.

But also for Scottish Cup semi-final reasons. Hibs needed some feel-good ahead of that meeting with Dundee United at Hampden on Saturday.

All they got was a sucker-punch.


Jason Cummings pounced on a mistake by David McCracken

They got off to a perfect start. For Hibs, Cummings’ opener was a joy. For Falkirk, a total calamity.

A harmless punt downfield became a nightmarish spectacle for McCracken and his goalkeeper. Their breakdown in communication led to the defender heading past Danny Rogers as he was charging from his goal.

The ball trickled goalwards, Cummings helping it on its way. It was going in anyway, but with just one goal in eight games, Cummings was hardly going to shepherd it to the line. Instead, he rifled it into the net.

There was an aggression in the game that reflected the stakes on offer. Lusty tackles flew in, some clumsy, some cynical, some that could have brought a red card instead of a yellow long before Muirhead walked.

There were a couple of penalty appeals from Hibs that provoked anger when they were waved away. Then a row broke out. It wasn’t the last one either.

Hibs were well on top, Falkirk an attacking let-down in that opening half. The home team, in truth, should have doubled their lead before the break, but Anthony Stokes wasted a headed chance from three yards out.

Stubbs’ side continued to create the chances, but when Falkirk got it together there was an anxiety in that Hibs defence that was obvious and that would haunt them for a finish.


Bob McHugh headed Falkirk’s equaliser with minutes remaining

McHugh went painfully close to equalising midway through the second half, but goalkeeper Mark Oxley was in the right place to deny him.

When Muirhead got a second yellow for a daft tackle on John McGinn, it looked like lights out for Falkirk, a feeling that intensified when Cummings scored again.

Falkirk complained bitterly about that penalty decision, given against McCracken for a foul on Paul Hanlon.

It looked desperately harsh, but their fury fell on deaf ears. Crawford Allan, the referee, was having none of it. Neither was Cummings. He smashed his shot into the roof of Rogers’ net.

McCracken’s frenetic night continued when he sparked the comeback three minutes from the end.

Hibs’ defensive frailties were exposed in that moment. Their inability to deal with a delivery into their penalty area cost them one goal and then, incredibly, another when McHugh seized on the chance and levelled it.

All of this was played out in front of the delirious Falkirk supporters. Hibs fans, by contrast, were hushed, much like their shell-shocked team.

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