Careless talk may not have cost lives, but there were significant prices to pay at Easter Road on Saturday as Andrew Shinnie’s involvement ended early before his team-mates surged close to uncatchably clear at the top of the Championship table thanks to his replacement’s stunning response to the contempt expressed for his right foot.

From the outset of a first half that was entertaining more for the tousy vigour with which the participants set about their business than any quality of footballing execution, it seemed clear that Falkirk had taken exception to Shinnie’s pre-match observations that Falkirk had ‘bottled it’ in last season’s play-offs.

Commenting on the opening clashes during which, a blatant Luke Leahy trip on Martin Boyle was followed by John Baird squaring up to Shinnie, who was involved in a series of collisions and had to leave the field just before the interval with a shoulder injury that will be scanned today, Mark Kerr, Falkirk’s veteran defender, pretty much confirmed that.

“I think Bairdy just saw his chance to have a go at one of the boys who said something to the papers. It was premeditated maybe,” he observed.

Shinnie certainly seemed to get a fair bit of special attention before his departure, but if so Falkirk’s punishment for taking matters into their own hands pretty much fitted the crime because it gave James Keatings an entire half in which to respond to having been left out of Hibs’ starting line-up and he could not have taken it more hungrily.

The quality of the ball he whipped in with his cultured left foot from a free kick wide on the right, meant that once Efe Ambrose had picked the right running line he could not have had an easier task of opening the scoring with a header from inside the six yard box with just 15 minutes remaining.

Keatings was then to take his share of the blame for the near instantaneous equaliser registered by the head of Craig Sibbald - Hibs’ torturer in chief last time they lost a Scottish Cup tie in the 2015 semi-final - which Ross Laidlaw probably should have done more to keep out at the near post following a corner from the right.

"I said straight away after the game when I went in that it was my mistake at the corner,” Keatings acknowledged.

“A few of the boys were having a go at Ross but I told them it wasn't Ross' fault, it was that I lost Sibbald. It shouldn't have happened. The manager agreed but he was happy that I scored. Luckily I managed to redeem myself.”

Keatings, who also manfully admitted that he had deservedly been dropped to the bench as a result of his previous weekend’s contribution, laughed when asked whether he would have been quite so noble had he not resolved matters as he did. He noted that failing to do would only have resulted in a shaming by video in midweek, but such discussion was in any case rendered hypothetical by a winner of sublime style from a shot on goal that he felt goaded into two minutes into injury time.

"It was strange because every time I got the ball I was going to the byline and the last time two Falkirk players doubled up on me. I heard them saying that 'he's all left foot' and it stuck in my head,” he explained.

"The next time I got the ball I went on my right and caught it with my bad foot and it's flown in.

“I couldn't believe it, but I don't think they could either.”

Following a rainbow-like parabola, from the left corner of the penalty box over and beyond Robbie Thomson, who did not have a meaningful save to make on the day but had no chance of stopping either goal, it was the most dazzling of finishes on a gloriously sunshiny Leith afternoon and pretty much killed off any chance second placed Falkirk had of claiming the title as they lost at Easter Road for the first time in eight years.

Admittedly it is conceivable that with two cracks at the leaders in the next three weeks and a game in hand against bottom side St Mirren, Morton could yet close the 10 point gap sufficiently to ask one last question of them. However Hibs responded to their own reputation of being perennial ‘bottlers’ in the cup final last year and can consequently now pursue a double this season in relatively relaxed fashion.