Falkirk manager Peter Houston says Hibs are now in the driving seat to claim second place in the Championship after watching his side slip to a 2-1 defeat by struggling Livingston on Saturday.
Goals from Jordan White and Sam Stanton, who joined Livi on loan from the Easter Road side in January, condemned the Bairns to just their second defeat on home turf this season – Alan Stubbs’ men being the only other side to emerge from the Falkirk Stadium with maximum points courtesy of a Jason Cummings penalty kick in October.
After a quiet opening 45 minutes, striker White broke the deadlock in the 76th minute before Stanton looked to have claimed victory for the West Lothian outfit in the final minute of normal time. However, the hosts halved that deficit just a minute later through Will Vaulks and then passed up the opportunity to snatch an unlikely point as John Baird’s penalty was saved by goalkeeper Marc McCallum three minutes into stoppage time.
With Hibs inactive over the weekend, having been successful in their request to the SPFL to reschedule their home clash with Dumbarton until next month due to a number of Stubbs’ squad receiving international call-ups, Houston accepts this was an excellent opportunity to put some distance between his side and the Edinburgh outfit.
Hibs now have three games in hand over their rivals who are six points better off and face the first of those matches when Livingston are the visitors to Easter Road next Tuesday.
“We’ll take this defeat on the chin. It was a wonderful opportunity to go nine points clear [of Hibs] and we’ve slipped up,” Houston bemoaned. “But there’s still loads and loads to play for. We’ve still to go and play a head to head against Hibs and they’ve still got to win their games in hand.
“Although we aren’t nine points ahead, we’re still six but it puts them in the driving seat, in some ways, but that puts pressure on them as well.
“I’m very disappointed but I’ll get on with it. I’m frustrated but you’ve got to give Livingston credit as they came and did a job on us and had a game plan. What I’m looking for now is when we go to Queen of the South on Saturday and hopefully we can we bounce back from it.”