ALLAN JOHNSTON hit out at a section of Falkirk supporters who threw false eyes on to the pitch and chanted vile abuse at Dean Shiels as Dunfermline Athletic retained their top-four slot with a deserved derby victory.

This was the first meeting of the sides since Kevin O’Hara and Joe McKee received eight- and four-match bans respectively for scandalously abusing Shiels, who had an eye removed in 2006 after losing sight in it following a childhood accident.

And the Falkirk supporters brought further shame to their club by chanting the very same and booing Shiels at every opportunity while false eyes were also thrown by some fans.

Johnston said: “You never like to hear stuff like that – it’s poor. Dean showed great discipline out there, I thought the whole team did and that’s why it was important to get the win as well with all the stuff going on in the background.

“Having said that I think a lot of the Falkirk fans left early so I don’t think they saw too much. 

“Dean has had a lot to deal with, the whole club has. I think we have dealt with it professionally and we have just got to move on. It’s unacceptable in this day and age.

“The most important thing is we got the win. You can see the rivalry between Dunfermline and Falkirk. Hopefully there will be many more of these wins to come.”

Falkirk last night issued a statement condemning those responsible. It read: “Falkirk FC apologises unreservedly to Dean Shiels and Dunfermline Athletic FC for the abhorrent behaviour of a small number of individuals. We will be working closely with Dunfermline to identify those responsible and look to take action against anyone identified and will not allow this disgraceful behaviour to be repeated.”

While the sickening fan behaviour soured the clash, it was a triumph for Lee Robinson who enjoyed an impressive debut after being snapped up when the transfer window opened. 

The goalkeeper, who was released by Queen of the South in September,made two magnificent saves before half-time and continued his heroics after he break.

Johnston said: “I had no qualms about throwing Lee straight in. I had him at Queens and he was outstanding in the year when we won the league and the cup. He was a big part of that.

“He’s a really good goalkeeper, really agile as you can see from some of his saves, and he is great at distribution. I’m sure that performance will do wonders for his confidence and he will create competition. I’m absolutely delighted. That’s the right way to start the new year, getting a win against your rivals and getting a performance as well.

“I don’t think anybody could say we didn’t deserve that. Going forward, we looked really threatening. The two strikers caused them all sorts of problems.”

Both strikers, Nicky Clark and Declan McManus, got on the score-sheet to clinch the victory Dunfermline wanted.

McManus set up his partner in 16 minutes, although Robbie Mutch should have done better at keeping out his right-footed shot. Clark had a chance to complete his hat-trick before half-time but headed wide in 23 minutes then shot over in 36 minutes. Robinson then took centre stage by making terrific saves from Aaron Muirhead and then Louis Longridge before half-time. They proved to be vital interventions as McManus then grabbed the second goal six minutes into the second half, stabbing home Joe Cardle’s pass.

Falkirk manager Paul Hartley, whose side remain second bottom of the table after picking up only one league victory since September, said:

“We didn’t start the game well but we changed shape and took control. We had a big chance before half-time but we felt confident we could get back into it. Their keeper had more saves than ours and he was the difference but the two goals we lost were really sloppy.”