Falkirk were struggling on a lee shore practically all the time at Tynecastle, despite their scoring of two goals and the absence of Alfie Conn, who was injured, during most of the second half.
Hearts scored four goals in the first half, an elixir which was almost too heady for their supporters, and there were notions of a repeat performance of their 9-0 victory in the corresponding game the previous season; but it was not to be.
They had just as many chances as they had on that day of wet and mud, but the forwards appear to have lost the art of scoring.
It may be of interest to note that in the game recalled above, Falkirk played the second half with ten men, Joseph Reid, their inside-right not resuming after the interval owing to injury. The half-time score that day was 3-0 for Hearts owing to goals from Willie Bauld, Jimmy Wardhaugh, and Conn.
However, even the most goal-greedy must have been pleased with Saturday’s first half, in which Wardhaugh scored in seven minutes, and Bauld, with a grand shot, in 16 minutes.
Then James Fiddes, the Falkirk right back, took a pot shot from far out – it was probably meant for a pass – and such was the swerve on the ball that it completely deceived Jimmy Brown and had struck the stanchion supporting the goal net and rebounded into play, before he appeared to be aware that he had lost a goal.
In 27 minutes Conn restored the Hearts’ two-goal lead and Bauld headed a smart fourth goal before the interval. In the second half a shot by James Brown caught his namesake, goalkeeper Jimmy Brown, napping, but that was the best Falkirk could do against the 10 men of Tynecastle.
The visitors were a disjointed crew who had no answer to the rapier thrusts of Wardhaugh and Conn, who time and again sliced open their defence while Bauld led the line skilfully, and all concerned showed a welcome improvement in shooting, at least in their seeming eagerness to try, even if their direction and elevation were not always the acme of perfection.
One got the impression that after Conn’s injured leg necessitated his leaving the field for good, Hearts were content to hold what they had. If the dashing inside right had not met with his mishap, there might have been at least two “hat-tricks” in the match. It looked as easy as that for Hearts.
The victory moved Hearts above Celtic in the league by a point, although the Glasgow side had played a game less. Dundee remain top, with Aberdeen only a point behind in second, again with one less game played.
Other results included a 2-1 victory for Hibs at Third Lanark, Aberdeen beating Motherwell 4-2 at home, Dundee beating East Fife 3-1 away, and Celtic being held to a draw by St Mirren.
Hearts would end the season in fourth place, behind Champions and Edinburgh-rivals Hibernian, with Rangers and Dundee in between, while Falkirk’s defensive struggles did not improve, with the squad ending the season bottom of the league and relegated alongside Clyde, to be replaced by Queen of the South and Stirling Albion in the top tier of Scottish Football.
Hearts: Brown, Parker, Mackenzie, Cox, Dougan, Laing, Sloan, Conn, Bauld, Wardhaugh, Williams.