AIRDRIE v DUMBARTON
10th August 2012
There may be a slight irony in the fact that Airdrie kick off an unexpected First Division campaign against their play-off final conquerors, but three points are all that matter in Saturday's showdown with Dumbarton.
The Sons return to New Broomfield having romped to a 4-1 victory to secure their promotion in May, but both sides have made a number of personnel changes since then.
Two familiar faces in the Dumbarton ranks are former Airdrie wingers Phil Johnston, released by the Club at the end of last season, and Steven McDougall, signed from Dunfemline Athletic.
Striker Bryan Prunty completes a hat-trick of ex-Diamonds who will all be looking to perform well against their old club.
For Airdrie, midfielder Alan Cook may have played himself into contention for a starting position following an impressive debut from the bench last week, scoring the Diamonds' second goal against Queens Park.
Bans for Sean Lynch and Nathan Blockley enforce a shake-up in the middle of the park, but one man returning from suspension following his red card in the play-off final is Jamie Bain, who celebrated his 21st birthday on Monday.
Diamonds boss Jimmy Boyle will be looking for more accuracy in the striking department after a disappointing League Cup exit
which saw both goals coming from midfield.
He said: "I think the lack of goals is down to a combination of things.
"There is maybe a lack of confidence, we're maybe not creating enough chances in general play, and we need them to work harder."
The loss of three goals to third division Queens Park is also a cause for concern, especially coming after an excellent defensive display the previous week.
Centre-back Cameron MacDonald is under no illusions as to what is required of the defence.
Cammy, named vice-captain for the season, said: "We defended really well as a team at Hamilton, but then managed to lose three goals from corners at Firhill. We've worked on that in training this week.
"If we're going to do well this season, we're going to have to be strong defensively".
With both sides tipped to be scrapping at the wrong end of the table, they'll be looking to prove the pundits wrong, but more importantly to get the league campaign off to a winning start.
Saturday's league opener will be refereed by John Beaton.