Airdrieonians v Rangers preview
1st January 2014
Gary Bollan says Airdrieonians will give it their best shot when they face Rangers in their first match of 2014.
The Diamonds gaffer is making final preparations ahead of the clash with the SPFL League One leaders at New Broomfield on Thursday.
Rangers are 14 points clear at the top of the table and have won 16 of the 17 league fixtures played to date.
But the season has been a lot more difficult for Airdrie who are five points adrift of safety at the bottom of the standings and clinched victory for the first time in 11 games at the weekend.
"The players are getting round to the way of thinking in terms of how we want to play and I can see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel," said Bollan.
"At the end of the day, it's 11 v 11. Rangers are a quality side in the league and the table doesn't tell lies. They are up there because they are the best team in the division.
"We will give it our best shot. If that's not good enough, we will accept that and kick on for the next game at Ayr United."
League One survival is the name of the game for Airdrie as they enter the second half of the campaign.
"We will give it our best shot between now and the end of the season to get out of the predicament we are in and avoid the drop," Bollan added.
"The young players are learning. We have a shape and they know where they should be when they don't have the ball. At times, we give the ball away cheaply. But they are good enough players not to be doing that."
Bollan was delighted with Airdrie's 2-1 win at home to ninth-placed Arbroath on Saturday as goals from Keigan Parker and Gregor Buchanan cancelled out Bradley Donaldson's opener for the visitors.
"I thought we were in control after getting the two goals quickly," commented Bollan. "But there's that doubt in your mind as we've conceded late goals in a number of games.
"We were a threat going forward but we tried to shore things up. I can't actually describe how important getting this win was. I think everybody knows how important it was.
"The gap to Arbroath has been cut to two points rather than it being eight points had we lost. I'm hoping the lads will get a bit of confidence from this and it will be a turning point."
Bollan confirmed that ex-St Johnstone and Blackpool star Parker has signed a deal until the end of the season.
"Keigan will be a signed player when the transfer window opens and I'm delighted with that," Bollan said. "I know what he can offer us. He never stops running and pesters defences.
"In two or three weeks he will be fit and I think you will see a really good player. He has played at a high level.
Airdrie will have Nathan Blockley back from suspension for the visit of the Light Blues but defenders Paddy Boyle, Grant Evans, Chris O'Neil and Grant Drummond are on the injury list.