Alston: Houston factor is key

Date published: Friday 17th April 2015 11:02

This weekend’s tie against Hibernian is a re-run of the 2013 semi-final, which saw Alston’s side lose 4-3 after extra time despite storming into a 3-0 after just half an hour.

Houston lifted the Scottish Cup as Dundee United manager in 2010 and the 23-year-old midfielder thinks that experience could help Falkirk progress this time round.

He said: “He’s obviously a manager with a lot of experience. He’ll know the right things to say and the right way to set us up and get us into the mentality that we can do it. It will be an interesting game. I think we will prepare as we always do and hopefully his experience can bode well for us.”

The then-Falkirk manager Gary Holt was appointed just days before the now infamous semi-final, and Alston believes that may have contributed to their downfall that day.

He said: “I think in a roundabout way it was probably the reason why we started so well and the reason we tailed off in the second half. I think the excitement of the game and also his first proper game in charge, everyone was going for everything.

“We probably expelled so much energy in the first half that it told in the second and we eventually faded out the game. Perhaps if we had a manager who had known us as and had come in a few months earlier then he would have known more about the players.”

‘Craziest game’

And Alston, the scorer of Falkirk’s third goal that day, says he is not surprised fate has thrown the teams together at the same stage of the competition two years on.

“Football is funny throwing things like this up all the time. I think out of any team it was always going to create a lot of tension in this game,” he said.

“It was certainly the craziest game I’ve been involved in; it’s one of the craziest games I think I have seen anywhere. It’s one of those games you have to look at it and can’t believe what you’re watching. I couldn’t believe what happened and how the game turned around.

“I think the experience we have got now as a team means we won’t go through that again. If we could get to a stage where we have such a commanding lead we probably could see out the game a lot better than we did at the time.”

Alan Stubbs’ Hibernian side will be a familiar sight for Alston and his team, having already met three times in the Championship this season. Falkirk are unbeaten, winning 1-0 twice with the other a thrilling 3-3 draw.

Alston says those results shows Falkirk can book their place in Scottish football’s showcase on May 30.

“I don’t know if it gives us an advantage but it definitely shows we are capable,” he said. “They’ll go into the game favourites with their league position and how they’ve done this season.

“We have beaten them twice and we’ve not lost to them yet so hopefully we can keep that going through to Saturday.

“We know we can do it. If we play as well as we know we can then we’ll give them a good game and there’s no reason we can’t go through.”

The Scottish Cup semi-final between Falkirk and Hibernian is Live on Sky Sports 2 this Saturday from 12pm.

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