By Craig Turnbull at the Falkirk Stadium
Lee Clark blasted Kilmarnock’s woeful defending as they conceded a last-minute goal to give Falkirk the edge in the Premiership play-off final.
The game looked to be heading for a stalemate but, has so often has been the case this season, Falkirk produced the goods right at the death with Will Vaulks’ crucial strike leaving them only 90 minutes away from Premiership football next season.
Killie will feel aggrieved they never came away with a share of the spoils after passing up a few good chances, but Clark says they only have themselves to blame after the 1-0 defeat.
“It’s an absolutely woeful goal to lose at any level,” he said.
“We’ve had the most chances, we’ve dominated for long periods, but the game is about putting the ball in the net and on the other side doing the basics right.
“We switched off doing the basics right in the last part of the game.
“If that goal was scored in the first minute or the last minute I’d just be as disappointed because the standard of the goal shouldn’t be happening at this level of football.
“You’d be disappointed if it happened at any level of football – schoolboy, junior or whatever. If your team conceded a goal in that manner, you’d be absolutely devastated and frustrated, so for it to happen at a professional level you’ve got to be really disappointed.
“The tie isn’t over, we’ve showed that we’ve been the dominate team but we’ve got to give every ounce on Sunday to get the result.”
Falkirk boss Peter Houston admitted his side were fortunate to take a precious one-goal lead to Rugby Park on Sunday and says they’ll have to play much better in the second leg to seal promotion to the top tier.
“We’re happy to get the goal but I think we are fortunate to win though,” he said.
“Kilmarnock started the better and used the ball better and although we worked very hard tonight, I thought guys who are comfortable on the ball didn’t use it well enough.
“I thought we looked nervous and tentative at times and we caused our own problems by giving the ball away and it gave a bit of impetus to Kilmarnock.
“But the character of the side was still there in abundance because they kept going.
“We had to call on our goalkeeper a couple of times. Danny Rogers makes a magnificent save and Craig Sibbald who’s been a superstar for the past couple of years – didn’t have best night on the ball – but was still brave enough to go and take it.
“Leahy takes a quick free kick, Sibbs still wants it and Will scores so I give the players great credit for that.
“I don’t fault their workrate because they worked ever so hard but they had to work harder tonight simply because of our own mistakes and I think when we go down there we’re going to have to use the ball better than we did.”