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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 August 2007, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Gretna 0-4 Falkirk
Michael Higdon
Higdon netted two first half goals to give Falkirk a vital lead
Falkirk gave Gretna a baptism of fire in their Scottish Premier League debut as midfielder Michael Higdon netted a first-half double at Fir Park.

The former Crewe man headed past Greg Fleming in the 13th minute then struck from close range 10 minutes later.

Pedro Moutinho struck home in the 66th minute, when Russell Latapy sent him clear with a defence-splitting pass.

Latapy added a fourth in the 74th minute with a long-range drive to complete Falkirk's victory.

The First Division championship flag was unfurled before kick-off and Gretna held the edge in the early stages, demonstrating the type of enthusiasm that has seen them soar through the Scottish football ranks.

Indeed, David Irons' men could have taken the lead in the eighth minute.

Falkirk defender Kenny Milne slipped up to let Allan Jenkins hook up with Colin McMenamin and go one-on-one with new Falkirk signing Tim Krul.

But the Dutch goalkeeper parried and Jack Ross cleared the shot on the rebound from Fabian Yantorno.

But it was Falkirk who opened the scoring in the 13th minute, when left-back Scobbie picked up a Higdon pass down the left and flighted a cross into the penalty area.

Scobbie leapt to nod the ball past Fleming and claim the Bairns' first goal of the new season.


Gretna had a chance to level the score shortly afterwards, but the opportunity was wasted when Colin McMenamin went past Ross and watched Krul block his shot.

Yantorno sent the rebound over the bar from 18 yards out.

Just 11 minutes later, Higdon was again on the scoresheet when midfielder Steven Thomson's 15-yard shot rebounded off the crossbar and Higdon placed it coolly into the corner of the net for his second of the day.

When the teams returned from the break, Gretna continued to show signs of promise but struggled to overcome the deficit.

Higdon almost added a third to his account shortly after the hour mark but fell victim to some poor finishing.

Latapy played the goal-hero clear, but he could only hit the side-netting from 12 yards out.

However, six minutes later, Moutinho made it three for the visitors with a superb solo effort when he went clear against Fleming after some good work by Latapy.

Latapy was at the heart of the action just eight minutes later, when he ended the notion of a dream start for Gretna with a solo effort, which he sent from long-range to give Fleming no chance.

As the seconds ticked out, Irons' beleaguered side simply couldm not muster a response and the long trip down the M74 from their temporary home will seem all the more daunting for the Gretna fans.

Gretna: Fleming, Barr, Innes, Osman, Grainger, Murray (Deverdics 68), Graham (Deuchar 61), Jenkins (Paartalu 67), Skelton, Yantorno, McMenamin.
Subs Not Used: Mathieson, Cowan, McLaren, McGill.

Booked: Yantorno, McMenamin, Barr.

Falkirk: Krul, Ross, Barr, Milne, Scobbie, Moutinho (Moffat 81), Cregg, Riera (Arfield 68), Thomson, Latapy (Wallner 75), Higdon.
Subs Not Used: Olejnik, Mitchell, Aafjes, Stewart.

Booked: Wallner.

Goals: Higdon 14, 24, Moutinho 66, Latapy 74.

Att: 2,731

Ref: C Richmond



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