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Ayr United match preview

9th May 2012

AIRDRIE face Ayr United tonight in the first leg of the SFL1 play-off semi-finals.

The teams will square off at New Broomfield before heading to Somerset Park this weekend.

The match is a re-run of the 2009 play-off final which the Honest Men won 3-2 on aggregate.

And local lad Kieron Stallard says he can't wait to renew a rivalry he considers as Airdrie's biggest.

"It's only when you play in the games that you begin to understand the rivalry," he said.

"We've already told the lads who are new to the club that these games will be heated affairs. It's bigger than Albion Rovers for me.

"I was involved in the four games against them last season and this has become our biggest rivalry in my mind.

"I wanted us to get Ayr in the play-offs. I wanted to play them again. I think we're due a win against them."

Diamonds boss Jimmy Boyle reflected on an outstanding final quarter of the campaign but admits Ayr will be difficult opponents.

The manager added: "But we've went on a fantastic run and it feels good to be in the play-offs.

"Ayr are a good side. I've watched them twice. It will be tough. But we will stand up together as a team.

"If we could have played like we have done at the beginning of the season, we might have got closer to the top."

Airdrie have Jamie Bain and Ryan Donnelly back from suspension this evening but Willie McLaren is still banned.

Midfielders Graeme Owens and Phil Johnston are injured. Skipper Paul Lovering hopes to recover from a back problem in time to play.

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