FALKIRK Football Club, which went into liquidation with debts of more than #1.5m just two months ago, has been saved, writes Keith Sinclair.

The provisional liquidator who was appointed to help ensure the club's survival had his appointment recalled at the Court of Session in Edinburgh yesterday after ownership of the club was transferred to a local consortium following the sale of former chairman George Fulston's majority shareholding.

The Colin Liddell Consortium, which bought Mr Fulston's 144,000 shares for a sum believed to be several hundred thousand pounds, will now call an extraordinary general meeting of the company, look at restructuring its shareholding, and appoint new board members including a new chairman.

Mr Fulston resigned from the board of directors with effect from yesterday and consortium member Douglas MacIntyre was appointed as interim chairman of the club.

The club, a Scottish Cup semi-finalist, received #250,000 from the Scottish Football League for finishing second in the first division and arrangements have already been made to pay its two principal creditors, the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise.

Mr MacIntyre, who owns the Stenhousemuir-based contractors Murdoch, Smith & Co, yesterday said: ''We are delighted for the club, for the supporters, and the town as a whole but it is very much the first step on a very long ladder.

''We would now hope to talk to the people who have the outstanding debts. If they want paid now, we'll pay them.

''We took the club over as a going concern and therefore we are obliged to meet all of these debts. If we hadn't done that I don't think it would have been possible for us to hold our place in the Scottish League and with the SFA.''

Mr MacIntyre, who revealed that the club has secured a ''major backer'' outwith the consortium, added: ''We obviously have business plans and if we can achieve what we hope to achieve we would very much hope to be able to move to a new stadium, but it is not going to happen overnight.''

The former provisional liquidator, Mr Donald McGruther, corporate recovery partner with Glasgow-based chartered accountants Grant Thornton, said: ''We are delighted for the supporters, the shareholders, and the creditors that this deal has gone through and that Falkirk Football Club can now go forward into the new season.

''The outcome is better than anything we had anticipated and the company is now solvent with the #250,000 money from their league placing a contributory factor.''