Airdrieonians v Greenock Morton preview
14th November 2014
Andy McNeil is glad to be facing Morton for the second time in five days - as it gives the Diamonds a chance for quick revenge.
The Ton sent Airdrie crashing out of the Scottish Cup on Tuesday night, with Andy Barrowman beating McNeil twice to secure a 2:0 replay win.
And the goalkeeper is eager to put the result behind him by helping the Diamonds to a league win over their Greenock rivals on Saturday.
"The team was very disappointed after the match on Tuesday. We felt we had an excellent chance to progress despite missing a few players.
"Saturday is an opportunity to continue our progress in the league as well as the chance to beat Morton".
McNeil bemoaned the absence of first-team regulars and the disadvantages that a part-time squad faces with midweek games.
"Tuesday was made more difficult due to the squad missing a few players, and this resulted in our shape changing.
"I also feel that a mid-week game is difficult for a part time team with players having to rush from work at 5 and try and get something decent to eat prior to the match".
Home league wins over Brechin City and Stenhousemuir have helped the Diamonds out of the relegation zone, and a third over Morton could see Gary Bollan's troops climb further up the league table.
However, experienced keeper Andy believes that the New Broomfield facilities can provide just as much of a boost to opponents.
"I don't think there is a clear advantage to playing at home, particularly as our pitch is astro and has no slope. Everyone I speak to enjoys playing at our stadium as it one of the best in the country.
"Home crowds can be a double edged sword too - when you're doing well they back you and spur you on, when things aren't going your way the crowd's negativity never helps".
Despite a less than conspicuous start to the league campaign, the Diamonds' recent league run has seen them move up to 8th position - but amazingly they are only 9 points from the top spot.
McNeil is cautiously optimistic about his side's form.
"The league is very tight which is encouraging, if you string some good results together you can make real progress, conversely if you lose a few games you can get sucked right down the bottom.
"So while pleased with our progress and optimistic about progressing up the league we must also be wary to maintain our standards and not slip back into our form from the start of the season".
Ben Richards-Everton is back in the squad for Saturday's match, but fellow defender Luca Gasparotto is still away on international duty with Canada.
David Proctor continues to make progress with his hamstring injury, and may be in contention to play.
Gavin Duncan is the referee.