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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 December 2006, 16:59 GMT
Falkirk 3-1 Inverness CT
Anthony Stokes jubilant at his hat trick
Anthony Stokes scored three against Inverness
Anthony Stokes scored a hat-trick to give Falkirk a comfortable victory over Inverness Caley Thistle in what could be his last match for the Bairns.

The 18-year-old scored his first after being put through by Russell Latapy. He got his second after linking up with Vitor Lima.

Stokes completed his hat-trick with a tap in, after which Ian Black was dismissed for unsporting behaviour.

John Rankin scored a late spectacular consolation for Caley Thistle.

Stokes loan deal expires tomorrow and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has stated that it is up to the player whether he wants to stay in Scotland.

Stokes hat trick, his third of the season, would be a huge loss and John Hughes will be trying his utmost to keep the SPL's top scorer at the club.

The Falkirk boss made three changes to his side with debutant Cedric Uras marshalling a three man defence.

However the home side's rearguard was rarely threatened by an Inverness side who clearly missed their top scorer Craig Dargo.

Charlie Christie's team were looking to build upon their impressive victory over Rangers but had no answer to Falkirk's attacking style of play.

The first half hour of the game was a dire affair but with Russell Latapy pulling the strings Falkirk always looked the more dangerous.

They deservedly took the lead when the Trinidadian midfielder played Stokes through with an excellent through pass on the 32nd minute.

It was Stokes first goal in five matches. He tops the SPL's scoring charts with 14 goals to his name.

Four minutes later he got his second after exchanging passes with Vitor Lima before smashing past Mark Brown.

His hat trick was complete a minute before the interval with a simple tap in after an excellent work by Kenny Milne.

Inverness were dismal and to compound their misery Iain Black was booked twice for kicking the ball away after the whistle had been blown for the first half.

The second half was all Falkirk, but they failed to add to the score sheet.

Stokes had two excellent chances to increase the lead, but one effort hit the bar while the other was saved by Brown.

Charlie Christie put on Gary McSwegan who offered some threat for Inverness.

And it was the former Rangers striker who played the ball into the path of John Rankin, whose long range strike gave Jeroen Lambers no chance.

Although a spectacular effort, it was too late to have any impact on the result.


Falkirk: Lambers, Ross, Barr, Milne (Twaddle 65), Dodd, Uras, Cregg, Lima (Thomson 72), O'Donnell, Latapy (John Stewart 78), Stokes.
Subs Not Used: Higgins, Scobbie, Craig, McManus.

Booked: Dodd.

Goals: Stokes 33, 37, 45.

Inverness CT: Brown, Tokely, Dods, McBain, Hastings, Munro, Black, Rankin, Morgan (Duncan 70), Wyness (McAllister 78), Bayne (McSwegan 76).
Subs Not Used: Fraser, McCaffrey, Wilson, Sutherland.

Sent Off: Black (46). Booked: McBain, Black, Munro.

Goal: Rankin 90.

Att: 4,516

Ref: M Tumilty



SEE ALSO
Hughes waits on Stokes decision
30 Dec 06 |  Falkirk
Christie admits to major setback
30 Dec 06 |  Inverness CT


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