How Hearts respond to their first defeat of the SPFL Championship season will prove crucial, according to captain Danny Wilson.
Falkirk left Tynecastle with all three points as the Jambos lost their undefeated record that stretched from August until now, thanks to goals from John Baird, Rory Loy and Craig Sibbald, helping the Bairns recover from Genero Zeefuik’s early opener to earn a fine 3-2 victory.
After the match, the skipper was upbeat in his assessment of proceedings, and admitted the defeat may prove highly valuable in the weeks and months to come.
“It’s all about how we respond now,” said Wilson. “There will be more focus on the defeat because our first has come so far into the season, but we’d have taken this run of form having lost the first game of the season and then won all the way up to this point. It was always going to come to an end.
“We’re disappointed it happened today, but hopefully this will help us refocus. We have a target on our backs as favourites now, so this result will keep us grounded. This will galvanise us and remind us there’s still work to be done.
“We started the game well but we didn’t kick on, so credit to Falkirk for taking advantage. We just never got ourselves going. In the last 8 weeks or so, we’ve not been at our best but managed to get the points. Falkirk stopped us from doing that today, but we’ll bounce back.”
The Scotland cap was also keen to dismiss any suggestions that the players would be relieved to have the pressure of defending their unbeaten run - recent performances had indicated a cagey aspect to play - as he reminded journalists his first priority was winning the match.
Additionally, the ex-Liverpool man revealed the team had kept their feet on the ground all season, so would not be getting carried away with the ramifications of this defeat.
“Losing the unbeaten run isn’t a monkey off our backs or anything. I’d rather have won the game. We weren’t trying to protect an unbeaten record, just trying to get three more points. The aim wasn’t to go the whole season without losing, it’s to win the title.
“We’re never too high when we win - which we’ve done a lot of this season - so we won’t get too down with a defeat either. Our focus is on righting this wrong, starting with Alloa on Saturday.”