Falkirk have not achieved anything yet - Peter Houston

Falkirk players with their manager, Peter Houston
Peter Houston (right) and Falkirk have reached the play-off semi-final

Peter Houston praised his Falkirk players for finishing as runners-up in the Championship, but reminded them of the task that is still ahead of them.

With Raith Rovers and Hibernian contesting the play-off quarter-final, Falkirk can prepare over 10 days to face the winners in the semi-final.

Falkirk beat Greenock Morton to clinch second place.

"If you get the right team on the park you can finish second, but we've not won anything yet," Houston said.

'Nervous tension'

No side in the Championship lost fewer games than Falkirk, despite winners Rangers and third-placed Hibs having far greater resources.

"After the [Scottish] Cup final last year, I spoke to the players on the pitch and told them, 'let's try to get into the play-offs next year'," said Houston, whose side lost to Inverness in last year's final.

"I'll let them enjoy themselves tonight, they'll go to the PFA Scotland dinner, where three of them are in the team of the season. I'll let the players have a couple of beers then we'll recover and start preparing."

Paul Watson got the vital goal against Morton, diving to head home early in the second half.

"The players were leggy at the end, it was the nervous tension of the occasion, and Morton had the freedom to come at us," Houston explained.

"We should have passed the ball better, but we have to learn from that experience to make sure that the next time we're in a winning position we keep going the way that got us into that position.

Greenock Morton and Falkirk players
Morton provided Falkirk a stern test

"Paul Watson has trained for 30 minutes over the last five weeks. How he got through the game I don't know. There was no danger he was coming off."

Houston believes that winning promotion this season would equal his feat of managing Dundee United to Scottish Cup triumph in 2010, but insists there is much work to be done to achieve that.

His team started well against Morton, and should have been leading at half-time. Moments before the interval, John Baird missed his second penalty kick of the season - "he's off them now," Houston said.

Falkirk and Hibs were level on points going into the game, but the former had a three-goal advantage. Hibs managed to score twice at home in their win over Queen of the South, and as they chased more goals, Morton put Falkirk under pressure, forcing a spell of anxious defending.

"I thought we played really well up to when we scored the goal, then we were tentative," added Houston.

"That's natural, when you hear goals going in at Easter Road, and Morton threw four or five players up front, so they were there to make it difficult for us.

"It's only human nature that you start to get tension in your body, whereas in the first half we played really well, missed a penalty, but we should have scored maybe two or three goals. We started the second half on the front foot, get the goal and then went on the back foot.

"I've got to give the players credit, who'd have thought we would finish second? There's still a lot of work to do, but I'm delighted with the players, their attitude, commitment and desire."

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