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What's football without a bit of rivalry?

5th September 2011

July 31st 2010 isn’t a date that would automatically stick out to the average Airdrie fan these days.  At the time though, it was derby day.

Not since a brief Scottish Cup encounter against Motherwell in 2007 had Airdrie been blessed with a regular derby fixture to entice the fans.

True, Hamilton still gave us a few good Lanarkshire Derbies when both clubs had the fortune of being in the same division, but it isn’t the same as our relationship with other clubs.

On the January 6th 2007 though, every Diamond’s dream came true as Airdrie once again faced Motherwell: the most bitter of rivals in their unmistakable claret and amber.

A close game, from what I remember – Richie Foran scoring in the 31st minute and temporarily deflating the incredible atmosphere that had built up pre-match (and in the first half hour).  Nothing has ever come close to it at Broomfield since then.

The one team that always eluded Airdrie in cup draws was Albion Rovers and after nine years we were finally granted our wish.  A Monklands Derby.

It was an exciting summer’s day.  For a change, we didn’t have to travel far to get a good atmosphere.  It was also the beginning of a period of change.  The game would be Jimmy Boyle’s second game in charge as caretaker manager and a complete squad overhaul had taken place.

Although Paul Lovering and Scott Gemmill had remained, gone were the likes of Marc Smyth, Stephen Robertson and Kevin McDonald – players who had seen through the past few years at the club.  But every cloud had a silver lining, and the fans could only imagine the potential from new members of the squad such as Ryan McCord, Tony Watt and Kieron Stallard.

As one of the “older” heads in the squad, it was Scott Gemmill who stepped up to the plate in the 67th minute of that match to net the winner, in a second half which saw both sides go down to 10 men.

Cliftonhill was a full house that day; the same can hopefully be said for New Broomfield on September 10th for the Wee Rovers’ first official visit.

I say official, because as some of you may remember a charity match that took place exactly three months after the clubs had met in the League Cup.

October 31st was a special day for me as I became player/manager of a team of Airdrie fans who played a team of Albion Rovers fans to raise money for St Andrews Hospice.  A great day was had by all and it was a good atmosphere – despite one red card, there’s always one! – and we defeated our Coatbridge counterparts 9-1.

Here’s hoping for a similar result on Saturday, come on the Diamonds!

Douglas Barrie

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