New Falkirk boss Peter Houston sets his sights on play-offs

Peter Houston had been working as a scout with Celtic
Peter Houston had been working as a scout with Celtic

Peter Houston has targeted a Scottish Championship play-off place after being unveiled as the new manager of Falkirk.

The second tier is shaping up to be a hugely competitive league next term with Hearts, Hibernian and Rangers among the sides chasing promotion.

And Houston is hoping his new charges can grab fourth place, and a play-off berth, at least.

"It's our remit that we'd love to try to get in the play-offs, that would be a huge achievement," said Houston.

The 55-year-old, who had been working as a scout with Celtic after leaving Dundee United last year, is relishing the chance to take on Rangers, Hearts and Hibs.

The Bairns reached the Championship play-off semi-final in season 2013-14 but were beaten by Hamilton Academical, who eventually won promotion to the Premiership.

"The better chances are going to go to one of the big three clubs in the league, however, that's on paper and football is not played on paper," said Houston.

"I've got to make sure that the lads I've got, when they come to face Rangers, Hearts and Hibs, there's a belief in them.

"It's a great thing for the players at Falkirk to go to Ibrox, Tynecastle, Easter Road and pit themselves against what's going to be a stronger squad.

"It's not always the big guys that win games. I've been to Hearts, Hibs and Rangers before as a manager and won."

A former Falkirk player, Houston won the 2010 Scottish Cup as Dundee United boss.

And after succeeding Gary Holt, who left the manager's position at the Falkirk Stadium to join Neil Adams' coaching team at Norwich City, Houston said returning to the Bairns was an offer he could not turn down.

"I probably wouldn't have jumped at it if it had been any other club than Falkirk, as they mean an awful lot to me, " Houston added.

"I left here 18 years ago to go to Hearts as a youth coach and I said in the local newspaper I'd like to go and learn the game then come back as manager. I didn't think it would be as long as 18 years but I'm delighted to be back."

Houston, who said his eight month stint at Celtic had advanced him as "coach and a person", revealed he is close to securing the services of a new player-coach for Falkirk.

As well as his four-year managerial spell at Tannadice, Houston was also assistant to Craig Levein when the latter was Scotland coach. The pair had previously worked together at Hearts, Leicester and Dundee United.