Falkirk late show leaves United scratching heads
THE idiosyncrasies of the Ladbrokes Championship ensured that Dundee United had been forewarned of the potential perils they would face in the division.
Their manager, Ray McKinnon, in-particular has first hand knowledge of the second tier from his time in charge at Raith Rovers.
Despite this, United have still been found wanting. In their second league game, the Tayside club were undone at Dumbarton, a venue that is renowned for creating upsets; just ask Hibernian after they were beaten twice at the Cheaper Insurance Direct stadium last season.
And in Saturday evening’s tea-time kick-off at Falkirk, United succumbed to a trademark late flourish by the Bairns, losing two goals in the final three minutes in a 3-1 defeat.
Last-gasp winning goals were the hallmark of Falkirk clinching second place and a play-off semi-final spot last term. United are yet to claim successive league victories this season after failing to build on last weekend’s win at Dunfermline, and have subsequently dropped to fifth in the standings behind the Bairns.
“It’s a disappointing result for us,” said Tope Obadeyi, who levelled the game in the 33rd minute after John Baird headed the hosts in front after 18 minutes. “We thought we could take the positives from last week. It’s a tough one to take.
“The manager has been drumming it into us. He knows the Championship from his time at Raith Rovers and he told us that teams aren’t going to just let us get on the ball and pass teams into the ground. It’s showing right now because our consistency isn’t there.
“Falkirk came out on top and we know what they’re all about going into the 90th minute. They keep going until the final whistle.”
Both teams went into the match knowing it was a chance to make inroad in the league after title favourites Hibs lost at home to Ayr United earlier in the day.
“Is it a missed opportunity?,” asked Obadeyi. “Definitely. Just in the warm-up we found out that Hibs lost. That was a massive incentive for us to go and get the victory but it wasn’t to be.”
With the game seemingly destined to end in a draw, Myles Hippolyte restored Falkirk’s lead in the 87th minute when his front post shot deflected off United defender William Edjenguele.
Substitute Lee Miller added a third two minutes later when he headed in Hippolyte’s cross.
For Hippolyte, he is reaping the rewards of a forthright chat with manager Peter Houston earlier this season.
He said: “The gaffer has said to me that I have all the ability but he wants a level of performance where I’m a six or a seven week after week. I can be an eight or a nine every now and again but I can’t really drop below the five mark.
“I think it’s a coming of age thing. I wasn’t as focused when I was younger and I need someone on my shoulder. The gaffer has helped me with that.”
MY BALL: United’s Tope Obadeyi in control on Saturday but it was the visitors who left with nothing after Falkirk’s late flourish clinched the points.