The Big Three: A preview of Rangers at Falkirk

Will Vaulks

This season Rangers Report will run a series of Match Previews entitled, the Big Three, prior to each match.  Rather then write in generalities about teams I rarely see – we will ask people who follow the opponent on a daily basis to provide some insight on their club.  Their task is to identify a Big Three — three aspects of their club that Rangers supporters should keep an eye on.

written by –  Stephen Crombie who covers Falkirk for The Scotsman’s Fanzone

This is the second time this season that Falkirk will welcome Rangers to the Westfield Stadium.  Peter Houston’s side will be looking to recreate their performance from the sides previous meeting earlier in the season.  Despite Falkirk’s excellent showing for the first 75 minutes of that match, they have never been able to recapture that same level of performance.  The loss of key player Connor McGrandles to Norwich City has been a major blow, leaving a huge void in the heart of the midfield!Rangers will not be afraid of the challenge that lies await on Tuesday evening, especially after Falkirk’s abysmal league form at home!  However what, if anything, should the visitors be afraid of from their hosts?
Peter Houston, courtesy of SNS

Falkirk:  The Big Three

1.  Peter Houston

A manager with plenty of experience in the game, it makes for a nice change to Falkirk fans as opposed to having the usual rookie manager.  Arguably though this is the worst start that Falkirk have made to a league campaign in years!

However, where Houston has impressed is his ability to quickly make tactical changes when something isn’t working.  Most games this season has seen Houston making substitutions five minutes into the second half.  He is a manager with plenty of passion which is clear to see, but also one who demands 100% from his team.  He will be more disappointed than most at Falkirk’s poor start to the season, but dedicated to turning his new look team into one which is hard to beat.

2.  The Falkirk Stadium

It’s fair to say that the Westfield Stadium does not quite have the same reputation as the ramshackled Brockvillie.  What the Falkirk Stadium has in facilities, it lacks in character and atmosphere.  What was often known as a daunting hostile environment at Brockville, the new Westfield Stadium can often be described as a ‘library’.  A stadium in which the visitors have enjoyed a lot of success, they will be looking to extend their good run with another win on Tuesday evening.

Owain Tudur Jones, courtesy of SNS

3.  New Recruits

Peter Houston has bought practically a whole new team this season.  Many of the players Rangers will have already encountered in the club’s previous meeting. However, before the transfer window closed, Houston managed to strengthen the current squad further.  Ex-Hibernian midfielder Owain Tudur Jones & ex-Hearts of Midlothian forward David Smith were added as free agents; while defender Joe Shaunghessy was added on loan from Aberdeen.  All three players have found themselves straight in Falkirk’s starting eleven. Certainly from the three, David Smith looks like an excellent attacking prospect for the Bairns.  He is a young talented pacy player who is not afraid to run at defenders. Since his arrival he has proved to be a great acquisition to Falkirk’s attacking line.

Liam Dick, courtesy of Ian MacNicol (Getty Images)

You can follow Stephen Crombie on Twitter @cromberto & read his work for The Scotsman’s Fanzone every Thursday.

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