The Scottish Mail on Sunday


- By James Melville

DANIEL STENDEL admitted Hearts were fortunate to force Falkirk out of the Scottish Cup.

The Tynecastle boss was delighted to survive a series of second-half scares in shocking conditions and escape with a place in the last eight thanks to Sean Clare’s penalty.

Stendel (below), whose team travel to Celtic Park next in their relegation fight, said: ‘The win is all that matters. It was not so easy.

‘In the end, it was important that we won this game. Even though our game was like the weather — not really great.

‘We had some luck. But we missed the luck in our last couple of games and this time it was on our side.

‘Falkirk had some chances but you could see we were the better team. We scored from a penalty but it doesn’t matter. We won.

‘When we arrived, the weather was crazy and then also in the game.

‘Falkirk started as we expected, very hard and duels. We lost a bit of confidence in the first half when we lost the ball too easily. ‘But we came into the game and I am happy about the result. We got out from some difficult situations and look forward to Wednesday (against Celtic).’ Falkirk co-manager David McCracken tasted defeat for the first time since he and Lee Miller took over in the wake of Ray McKinnon’s sacking last November.

McCracken said: ‘We didn’t just sit in and defend and hope for a replay. We put our stamp on the game in tough conditions. ‘Defensivel­y, we were great and limited them to a few chances. The penalty was disappoint­ing. The wind has done us.

‘The big positive for us was the way we reacted. Then it’s about taking those opportunit­ies when you’re on top.

‘Fair play to Hearts, they killed the game late on by slowing it down. We’re gutted but we take positives from it, going back into the league.’

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