Stephen McGinn is delighted to have helped bring the buzz back to Falkirk after joining the club when they were in a rotten state last summer.
The 34-year-old signed for the Bairns as they were preparing for their fourth consecutive season in League One after going on a downward spiral ever since finishing second in the Championship in 2017.
Manager John McGlynn, who took over last May, appears to have steadied the ship, with Falkirk a clear second in the league and aiming to win promotion through the play-offs as well as having a Scottish Cup semi-final against Inverness to look forward to this Saturday.
Midfielder McGinn senses the feelgood factor returning to a club which has aspirations of ultimately getting back to the top flight.
“I joined St Mirren a few years ago when they were rock-bottom of the Championship and I joined Kilmarnock last season off the back of their relegation play-off,” he said.
“I thought those were clubs that were going one way and needed to turn it round, but they were probably nothing like (as bad as) here.
“A kind of rot had set in. The club wasn’t winning games. As a Scottish football fan, you’re wondering why it’s not happening for a big club like Falkirk.
“It’s been tough but I think slowly but surely we’ve got it back onside. We’re all working together to get the club going again.”
Asked why he felt compelled to join Falkirk given the sense of disarray at the club, McGinn said: “Probably the project and the manager. I’d played against the manager’s teams before and they always play good football.
“I was at a stage in my career where I didn’t know how long I’d have left and I wanted to enjoy my football and take on the challenge of helping Falkirk get out this league.
“When I signed up I wasn’t thinking I’d be playing in a Scottish Cup semi-final and potentially the final but it’s been good just to put the club back in these big games and get the town buzzing about the club again.”
Falkirk reached the semi-final after defeating Championship side Ayr in the last eight in March but the excitement about heading to Hampden faded as their title hopes fell apart amid a run of only one win in eight league games.
McGinn is relieved that they are able to head to the national stadium on the back of last weekend’s morale-boosting 4-1 victory at Alloa.
“I’m looking forward to it now,” he said. “It’s been a difficult couple of weeks after the euphoria of the Ayr game and then the way our form dipped in the league.
“Honestly, it’s been hard to look forward to the semi-final because of the patchy form and losing games we shouldn’t be losing. It was nice to go to Alloa and get a good result and performance, and as soon as that one finished we could really look forward to the weekend.”