McGarry for Smith was the only change to the starting line up as Malpas decided to persist with Clarkson up front once again. His decision was just about vindicated, as it was Clarkson's stunning shot that came off the post to allow substitute Smith to slide home the winner on 67 minutes. Clarkson showed a lot of little things in the first half that would make a good striker a great overall player; work ethic, chasing lost causes, covering right midfield when needed and coming back when needed. But all these things can only compliment a striker's basic skills and it is doubtful if he possesses them. Twice he created chances from nothing but his failure to cross and then play in McDonald wasted his opportunities.
The first half was generally poor with neither team coming too close to scoring. Graeme Smith looked lively to come out and collect some speculative through balls but Falkirk showed menace just before the break when a header flashed wide. We didn't pay heed to the warning and lost a goal right at the start of the second half. Kerr and Clarkson dallied in the middle and lost possession before a good move down our right eventually led to a cross. The ball was fed to Cregg and his sweet shot found the bottom corner.
The goal gave the home side a boost and we looked out of sorts. They had half chances but failed to hit the target and it took a great intervention from Reynolds to keep us one behind. Smith came on for McGarry and almost immediately we equalised. A Falkirk defender missed a simple clearance and McDonald pounced to drive the ball through the legs of Schmeichel. Almost immediately afterwards a good move down the left saw McDonald feed Clarkson and the under-pressure striker hit the post with a brilliant drive. Schmeichel may have got a touch, if so it was a great save, but the ball rebounded right into the path of Smith who could hardly believe his luck.
We were suddenly on top from absolutely nowhere and we did an excellent job of killing the game. Falkirk had one half chance when Graeme Smith could only parry a through ball but the resulting lob attempt was poor. Scott McDonald narrowly lost out in a foot race with Schmeichel when he could have killed the game and as Falkirk became desperate they threw everything into the box. A couple of efforts drifted over but we clung on for a win.
As ever the result matters more than the performance and with Dunfermline and St Mirren losing we took another huge step towards safety. Ross McCormack also came on for the last few minutes and although not involved too much his touch was good and he didn't give the ball away. A quiet return for him but given the circumstances we couldn't have asked for anything more. The performance wasn't great and Malpas will no doubt look for more in the next weeks but it's hard to complain too much at this point.