Since leaving Brockville and moving to the Falkirk Stadium in 2004, Falkirk had been experiencing a golden spell in the club’s history.
Under manager John Hughes, entering his fifth season in charge by the summer of 2007, they had won promotion to the Premier League as champions in 2005 then ensured that they stayed there with finishes of 10th and seventh respectively. 2007-08 would see them continue their fine form.
The home kit for the campaign was manufactured by Italian sportswear company Lotto and sponsored by local business Central Demolition, who still sponsor them today. The traditional dark blue top had red and white trim, while the socks reverted back to the more customary blue colour after a season of red. The shorts were white, as they had been for the majority of the previous century. The away strip was all red with white trim.
Falkirk’s squad contained a thrilling mix of exciting home-grown talent and big-name stars. Without doubt the biggest of them all was Russell Latapy, capped 81 times by Trinidad and Tobago, and formerly of Porto, Boavista, Hibernian, Rangers and Dundee United. Some of the biggest stars, however, were still making their name.
Goalkeeper Tim Krul, on loan from Newcastle, would go on to excel in the English Premier League, as well as for Holland in the World Cup, while Scott Arfield would later establish himself as a Premier League player with Burnley. Darren Barr would become a full internationalist with Scotland, while Michael Higdon would win the PFA Player of the Year award at Motherwell before playing in the Dutch top flight with NEC Nijmegen.
Others who would go on to have distinguished top-flight careers included Tam Scobbie, Liam Craig and Patrick Cregg.
In 2007, though, they were still just known as exciting prospects for the future. Guided by Hughes and Latapy, they were beginning to fulfil their potential.
The season started in spectacular fashion for the Bairns as Latapy, Pedro Moutinho, and Higdon (2) gave them a 4-0 win at newly promoted Gretna, but heavy defeats to both Rangers and Celtic followed and by the start of December they were struggling in 11th place. One result was to turn their season around, though.
On December 1, Hughes’ men put in a stunning performance as they thrashed St Mirren 5-1 at St Mirren Park. Moutinho scored two, while Steven Thomson, Graham Barrett and Carl Finnigan were also on target.
That sparked a run of just one defeat in nine games as they picked up 20 points from a possible 27, and by mid-January they were up into sixth place. St Mirren were to bear the brunt of their attack again in February when doubles from Arfield and Cregg gave them a 4-0 win.
Falkirk finished the season in seventh place, ahead of a Hearts side that included Lee Wallace, Christophe Berra, Robbie Neilson and Michael Stewart. It was their joint-highest league finish since 1995, and testament to the great work job being done by Hughes at the time. With a limited budget, Falkirk’s youth system was thriving and the fans had a team to be proud of.