WITH a Bob McHugh goal deep in stoppage time, Falkirk won a remarkable match that justified the whole play-off concept.

This was an absolutely superb game of football, maybe lacking in quality but viscerally exciting from start to the very late finish.

All credit to Falkirk who will now meet Kilmarnock to decide who plays in the Ladbrokes Premiership next season, while Hibs will spend another season in the second tier – that’s a shame, because they are too good to be second rate and don’t forget, everything will be forgiven if they win the Scottish Cup next week.

The first surprise of the evening was the team selection of Hibs. Manager Alan Stubbs left top scorer Jason Cummings on the bench, and gave James

Keatings the striking role alongside Anthony Stokes. Peter

Houston started McHugh – who scored Falkirk’s equaliser on Tuesday night.

After an emotional minute’s applause all around the stadium, in tribute to former Bairns player Chris Mitchell, the first quarter of the match was more or less one-way traffic for the home side.

After 13 minutes, Falkirk got their deserved reward, with

Will Vaulks and McHugh setting up Blair Alston who fired past Logan.

However, Hibs not only equalised but went ahead after the half-hour mark.

David McCracken tackled Keatings inside the box and was lucky to escape a red card. The Hibs striker took the kick himself and stuck the ball deep into the right hand corner of the Falkirk goal. Two minutes later, a lovely Stokes cross gave Keatings the chance to head the ball powerfully past Rogers.

It was probably not realised at the time, but Dylan McGeouch’s departure with injury was a turning point – though that is no reflection on replacement Marvin Bartley

Falkirk had clearly received some strong words from Houston at half-time as they came charging out of the blocks but it was Hibs who had the better chances as John McGinn shot shot wide and Luke Leahy deflected David Gray’s goal-bound header.

Keatings thought he had scored a hat-trick after 70 minutes but he was pulled back for a dubious offside decision.

Hibs were in command, but couldn’t kill off Falkirk and paid for it with just over 10 minutes left. Leahy’s equaliser was a beauty as he caught Gray’s clearance on the volley and smacked the ball past Logan.

It wasn’t over – far from it. Miller went down on the edge of the box and referee Thomson shrugged his shoulders, before Cummings came on for Keatings and almost won the match with a shot that came back off the bar.

Stokes then clipped the top of the bar with his header, before the winner was clinched, a long throw-in being allowed to bounce in the box with McHugh volleying home for the winner.