• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Falkirk 2 Dundee 0: Perspective pivotal in great leap forward for Falkirk

It rather undermined his manager's bid to portray him as a footballing innocent, but the shrewdness of Rory Loy's post-match analysis at Falkirk Stadium on Saturday spoke of the intelligence that appears to lie behind the new Championship leaders' rise to the top of the table.

Kyle Benedictus of Dundee and Falkirk's Rory Loy rise from the plastic pitch to contest a challenge. Picture: SNS
Kyle Benedictus of Dundee and Falkirk's Rory Loy rise from the plastic pitch to contest a challenge. Picture: SNS

A central figure in much of the on-field drama, the man who won a penalty, duly missed it, then scored the match-sealing goal, was described by Gary Holt as incapable of conning the referee in the manner that John Brown, the Falkirk manager's Dundee counterpart, had alleged.

The wry smile that seemed, momentarily, to play across Loy's lips as Holt's defence was put to him suggested the 25-year-old perhaps thought otherwise.

He was, however, adamant that in this particular instance the right decision had been made, which had also left referee Bobby Madden no choice but to red card Kyle Letheren, the Dundee goalkeeper who Loy was rounding when upended.

"At the end of the day if he's our manager he says it's a penalty and if he's the opposition manager he says it's not," said Loy, before asserting that it was "a stonewall".

"For me the goalie came out and made full contact with me. I could clearly hear it when his glove hit my boot and me tripping up. I can't quite comprehend how someone could argue that it wasn't a penalty.

"Their 'keeper shouted that I knew exactly what I was doing ... What I was doing was kicking the ball past him and trying to put it in the net and he brought me down in the process.

"No doubt the headlines will be all about how the penalty changed the game, but we were the better team and we won it."

In saying so he offered an accurate account of proceedings overall, and an awareness that, whether intentionally or otherwise, Brown's choice of emphasis was likely to draw some attention away from the way in which the leadership had changed hands between these sides.

Yet it was a win that, in psychological terms, appears to change the dynamic of this title battle as Loy also acknowledged, for all that it is only goal difference that puts Falkirk above Saturday's opponents.

"Up until now it was always nice to not be top because you'd read Dundee articles and Hamilton articles and they'd be talking about each other. We were quite happy to be flying under the radar to an extent, but we're top now and it would be nice to stay there, although maybe a bit of unwanted press will come our way. But at the same time that won't, or shouldn't, affect us," he observed.

Appearing much more comfortable on their artificial pitch than their visitors, Falkirk had looked sharper in every aspect in earning a one-goal lead through Conor McGrandles prior to that talking point which occurred just before the interval.

Only their goalkeeper, Michael McGovern, could have had the slightest cause for complaint as, amid icy squalls whipping across the pitch, he was left with a tricky task to avoid hypothermia, so little was he employed in this extension of an unbeaten league run that goes back to October.

Some 84 minutes would elapse before he was required to make a meaningful intervention, smothering an attempt from Dundee substitute Martin Boyle. By then his colleagues had squandered an array of fine chances, including the penalty, as well as registering the goals that separated the sides.

Perhaps Brown's decision to direct his ire at the officials was the latest reflection of coaches and managers seeming increasingly loath to risk denting their players' confidence by publicly criticising their efforts.

However he will hope, in particular, that experienced signings Christian Nade - who was substituted to let Dan Twardzik replace Letheren in goal and make that penalty save - and Stephen Hughes, who also departed early, will bring much more influence to bear in the weeks ahead. Their recruitment was clearly designed to consolidate what had the potential to be a dominant position in this race towards Scotland's top division.

Earlier this month, Dundee had been looking at a three-match sequence that, had they won them all, would have given them almost as much control of their division as the Old Firm have of those above and below them.

A home defeat by Livingston, followed by the cancellation of their meeting with Hamilton Academical, put a very different complexion on matters, and this latest setback has, in turn, put a very different complexion on the Championship title race.

Contextual targeting label: 
Football

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

208528