Bairns ready to be bold against Hibs

Falkirk manager Peter Houston

Peter Houston is hoping to lead his side to the final against Kilmarnock

Falkirk manager Peter Houston is unlikely to repeat a defensive approach against Hibernian in their Scottish Premiership play-off final first leg.

Houston’s Bairns found themselves 2-0 behind before a half-time change of tactics rescued a 2-2 draw in their Championship game in April.

“We went with one striker and one off and I felt that it was all Hibs pressure in the first half,” he said.

“We brought striker Lee Miller on at half-time and the game changed a bit.”

That result in Edinburgh ultimately ensured that Falkirk finished second in the table, forcing Hibs into an extra, two-leg play-off tie against fourth-placed Raith Rovers.

“We are at our best when we are attacking and playing with two strikers,” Houston told BBC Scotland ahead of Tuesday’s first leg at Easter Road.

“Yes, we need to be cautious and defend well, but I don’t see us deviating much from that.

“Right now, a draw would be a good result for us.”

While Hibs were overcoming Rovers, Houston’s side have had time to prepare for the semi-final since beating Greenock Morton in their final league game on 1 May.


Lee Miller helped Falkirk come from 2-0 to draw 2-2 with Hibs

“We gave the players a few days off, which we thought they had earned and deserved,” he said. “But, from Thursday onwards, we’ve kept ourselves ticking over.

“The fitness levels are good, the players are refreshed and they are so looking forward to pitting their wits against a good and difficult Hibs side.”

Hibs have played 11 games in 35 days because of their progress to the Scottish Cup final and involvement in that play-off quarter-final.

However, Houston said: “I never saw any fatigue within Hibs against Raith, but hopefully they maybe get some over the next two games.

“I think, over the piece, Hibernian deserved to go through. Raith put in a lot of effort, a lot of hard work, they obviously got the lead from the first game.

“But, as usual, Hibs came out the traps and, within 11 minutes, it’s 2-0 and the pressure’s off them slightly.

“Raith probably didn’t play to their full potential and credit to Hibs for that.”

Falkirk finished above of Hibs courtesy of goal difference but have yet to defeat the Edinburgh side this season, a 1-0 home defeat in their opening encounter in October being followed by three draws.

“I think the fact the teams are so close together, I don’t think there’s a huge advantage whether it’s home or away,” added Houston. “It is going to be similar types of games.

“Two teams that like to pass the ball and try to create chances and it is all about winning at the end of the day.

“What we have got to make sure is that we don’t get too up-tight with the fact it is a double-header play-off to try to play against Kilmarnock.”

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