Ben Hall has his sights firmly set on another upset against Celtic
Ben Hall will be part of a Falkirk side looking to cause a major Scottish Cup upset this evening when they travel to take on defending champions Celtic.
The League One side returned to competitive action on March 20 after more than two months away due to restrictions in Scotland and are unbeaten in their four matches since – including a 2-1 victory over Championship outfit Arbroath which has set up a monumental clash at Parkhead.
Former Northern Ireland U21 international Hall has came up against Celtic twice already during his career with mixed success.
In just his second professional appearance at Motherwell following a move from Dungannon Swifts in 2015, the teenage defender was thrown in at the deep-end with an away trip to The Bhoys and they magically broke a run of poor results by springing a huge shock and ran out 2-1 victors.
Hall and Motherwell returned five months later to try and repeat the trick but ended up on the wrong end of a 7-0 thumping with seven different players getting their name on the scoresheet.
The odds of a Falkirk win currently sit around 20/1, but this is cup football and Hall believes anything can happen.
“I’m hoping there won’t be another 7-0 coming on Saturday night!” he said.
“Hearts the other week got beat by Brora who hadn’t played much since Christmas so these things can happen.
“If they have an off-day and we can keep it to 0-0 for as long as possible, then you never know what could happen.
“This is their last chance of winning something so we know they will be really up for it and wanting to win. It’ll be a tough night for us but one we are looking forward to.
“You want to test yourself against players like that and see where you stand against them.
“It’s a good chance for our players to go out and showcase themselves.”
This isn’t the first huge cup clash for Falkirk this season, who were drawn at home to Rangers in the Scottish League Cup second round where they went down 4-0 after goals from Jermain Defoe, Calvin Bassey, Borna Barisic and James Tavernier.
“We knew going into the game knowing that they hadn’t lost a game all year and they were just steamrolling teams,” added Hall.
“Our plan was to make it as hard as we could for them and to try to keep it at 0-0, but we ended up conceding after six minutes and your whole game plan goes out the window then.
“You knew with the players they have and the way they play that they would go on to win and dominate the league.”
Hall has been a major part of Falkirk’s recent success, helping them to a title-challenge last season before it was curtailed while they sit top of the league by four points in this campaign.
He arrived at The Bairns on the back of a tough period in his career which included missing the final year of his time at Brighton & Hove Albion – where he captained the U23 side on occasion – due to injury and a period at Partick Thistle that included just two league appearances.
An ankle injury also caused him to miss months of action while on-loan at Notts County but the 24-year-old is now enjoying the game once again.
“It was one of those injuries that you go around in circles with,” he said.
“There was no real time they could put on it – it’s just how your body reacts to it.
“It was tough because I got over it and went back to play in the December at Notts County and a new manager had come in at the time and he had wanted me at Wimbledon at the start of the season.
“I thought it would be great for me to go and play for him, but in the last 30 seconds of one of the first training sessions I did my ankle and was out for another four months.
“I went from Dundee United to Plymouth, back up to Partick Thistle down to Lincoln (after leaving Brighton in 2019).
“It was crazy the journeys I was doing but it’s what you’ve to do to stay in the game.
“You work so hard as a young kid and made so many sacrifices to make it as a professional footballer that you don’t want to just chuck it away. You have to get your head down and go again.”
Hall has represented Northern Ireland at every age group from U15 through to U21, where he was part of a side under Ian Baraclough that included the likes of Gavin Whyte, Jordan Thompson and Shayne Lavery.
He still has dreams of earning a first senior cap some day and is working hard to achieve his dream.
“That’s my aim now to get back to a level again where I could be considered for a call-up,” he added. “I will take it year by year to see where it goes.
“You have to have some goals as a footballer and things to work towards. That’s something I have in my head.”
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