Advantage Falkirk In Play-Off Final
20 May 2016, 08:52 | Updated: 20 May 2016, 08:55
Kilmarnock manager Lee Clark condemned his side for conceding an "absolutely woeful'' injury-time goal which handed Falkirk a 1-0 advantage in the Ladbrokes Premiership play-off final.
Will Vaulks drilled home from 18 yards after the unmarked Craig Sibbald had collected Luke Leahy's quickly-taken free-kick on the left and cut the ball back.
Kilmarnock had enjoyed the better of the first leg but Kris Boyd was denied by a decent Danny Rogers save and Sibbald's goal-line clearance, while Tope Obadeyi squandered a glorious chance.
Clark said: "It's an absolutely woeful goal at any level. You'd be disappointed if it happened at any level of football - schoolboy, junior, whatever. If your team conceded in that manner you would be devastated.
"We had the most chances, the best of the chances, we have dominated for long periods. But the game is about putting the ball in the net and doing the basics right. We stopped doing the basics right in the last part of the game.
"You get in a shape from the goalkeeper's kick, you don't commit a cheap foul, and when the foul happens you defend it properly, everybody back.
"I was trying to get certain players back in the penalty area just to see the free-kick out.
"But the tie's not over. We have been the dominant team and we've got to give absolutely every ounce we've got on Sunday to get the result.''
Falkirk boss Peter Houston hailed his players' character after they produced a crucial late goal for the third play-off game in a row. But he admitted they made it hard for themselves.
Houston said: "I'm happy to get the goal. I think we were fortunate to win though.
"Kilmarnock started better and used the ball better. And although we worked very hard, I thought that guys in our team who are comfortable on the ball didn't use it very well.
"We looked nervous, we looked 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 was still there in abundance because we kept going. We had to call on our goalkeeper a couple of times, Danny makes a magnificent save.
"And Craig Sibbald, who has been a superstar for us in the couple of years since I came in, it wasn't his best night on the ball but he was still brave enough to take it and that's important.
"Luke Leahy takes a quick free-kick, Sibbs still wants it, cutback and Will scores. So I give the players great credit for that.''