Manager Peter Houston leaves Falkirk after disappointing start to season

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Peter Houston has left Falkirk after their poor start to the Ladbrokes Championship season.

The club announced they had come to a “mutual agreement” that manager Houston and assistants James McDonaugh and Alan Maybury would leave with immediate effect.

Houston led the club to the 2015 Scottish Cup final, the 2016 Premiership play-off final and the play-off semi-finals last season, losing to Inverness, Kilmarnock and Dundee United respectively.

But the Bairns have had a surprisingly poor start to the Championship season, taking just three points from their first seven matches, and a 2-0 home defeat by Livingston on Saturday sparked crisis talks with the board.

Technical director Alex Smith will now take charge, assisted by senior players Mark Kerr and Lee Miller and academy director Michael McArdle while the club search for a long-term replacement.

Former Dundee United boss Houston, a popular former Falkirk player, said in a statement on the club’s website: “We are disappointed with the start to the season and the board and I have come to a mutual agreement that to get the club moving again it is best that someone fresh is brought in.

“It has been a decent three or so years – there have been some real highlights, including reaching the Scottish Cup final and finishing second, but we just fell short of the goals that we all hoped we could achieve.

“It wasn’t down to lack of effort and I’ve got to thank the players again for all they have put in.

“I must also mention the supporters. It has been a wee bit rough recently, but through the last three years they have given great support to the club. The fans have been magnificent.

“Finally, I’d just like to wish the club the very best moving forward. I hope whoever comes in can give the club the success it deserves and that we have been striving for over the last number of years.”