Scottish Cup final: Keep calm and lift trophy, says Falkirk boss

Falkirk manager Peter Houston
Peter Houston's side have warmed up with bounce games
Scottish Cup final: Falkirk v Inverness CT
Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Date: Saturday, 30 May Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC One Scotland, Radio Scotland and BBC Sport website

Falkirk may lack match sharpness when they meet Inverness in the Scottish Cup final, but boss Peter Houston is more concerned with relaxing his players.

The Bairns have not played since the Championship campaign ended on 2 May.

"It's something that probably has to be looked at, but we won't make it an excuse if it doesn't go our way," Houston said of the scheduling.

"I think my biggest job on the day will be making sure we're calm and handle the occasion."

Caley Thistle rested several players for their final Scottish Premiership match on Saturday, but a long break without competitive action has been forced upon the Bairns.

Hibernian were in a similar situation ahead of their play-off semi-final, waiting 18 days to take on Rangers, and Houston takes heart from their display, although the Edinburgh side lost out over two legs.

"I thought Hibs played well against Rangers and looked quite sharp," he told BBC Scotland.

"I'm hoping our players will be similar. A bit of freshness might do us good. The fitness levels are very good, but you do miss competitive games.

"Last week, we had games against young Burnley and Swansea sides. That was the best we could get at this particular time.

"But if you can't get the players up for a cup final then there's no chance of ever getting them up.

Peter Houston lifts the Scottish Cup in 2010
Peter Houston led Dundee United to a 3-0 win over Ross County in the 2010 final

"They're excited and nerves will come into it. The Inverness players will be the exact same way and it's who handles the occasion best."

Houston can draw on recent Scottish Cup success, having lifted the trophy with Dundee United in 2010.

"We were favourites that day and we handled it very well," he recalled.

"I'll stick with the same routine, staying in the same hotel, naming the team on Thursday."

Houston has been using his free weekends to keep tabs on Inverness and knows opposition manager John Hughes well since they played in the same Falkirk defence many years ago.

"Inverness have had a fantastic season," added Houston.

"They've not finished third in the Premiership for nothing. It's because they have good players and good organisation and a great manager.

"I'm providing my players with information; strengths and hopefully some weaknesses we can exploit.

"We're underdogs, that goes without saying. But, once you are in a final, you want to go and win it. We're not just happy to be there.

"In a one-off situation, we've seen many times, the underdogs can come out on top.

"We have to cope with whatever Inverness throw at us but also get the ball down and play because we like to pass it and I'm convinced we'll create chances."

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