Airdrieonians v Stenhousemuir preview
27th March 2015
Chris O'Neil doesn't expect an easy game against Stenhousemuir, but says the Diamonds can get back to winning ways if they play to their potential.
The young defender has been unable to dislodge Jamie Bain from the right-back spot since returning from injury, but came into the side to cover left-back Paddy Boyle's suspension at Stranraer last weekend.
The makeshift back four defended well throughout, and it took a special goal from Willie Gibson to beat them.
O'Neil doesn't believe there was much between the sides.
"I thought the game was scrappy and the park didn't help either team at all.
"I think the defeat was harsh on us - it took an unbelievable goal to win them the game. I think a draw would have been a fair result."
With the Diamonds gunning for fourth position, the top three have opened a bit of a gap as the season draws to a thrilling conclusion.
Stranraer led for much of the campaign, and having returned to the top prior to beating Airdrie, O'Neil believes that Stephen Aitken's men have what it takes to win the title.
"I think they are favourites to win the league, especially now as there are not many games to go and they are sitting top.
"Stranraer is a really hard place to go and they make it very hard for teams, so I think they are favourites."
With Brechin City dropping points in midweek, the Diamonds will be desperate to get back to the impressive form that saw them unbeaten in nine before faltering at Stair Park.
Dunfermline and Peterhead lie a single point ahead of Airdrie, and with all three teams still having to face each other, the run-in is guaranteed to be an exciting one.
Do the Diamonds have what it takes to make the play-off spot? O'Neil thinks so...
"It will take more of what the team has been doing, we were on a really good run until Saturday - more of the same and we will be in with a right good chance of making the play offs."
Although Gary Bollan's squad are more concerned with the battles for the title and the play-offs, teams at the bottom of the table cannot be ignored as they fight for every point in a bid for survival.
Stenhousemuir visit on Saturday having already beaten Airdrie twice this season - although the Diamonds have also triumphed over the Warriors on two occasions.
Chris expects a hard job, but is hopeful that a return to form can see the Diamonds emerge victorious.
"Every game in this league is tough, and I think Saturday will be much the same.
"Stenhousemuir have good players and they will make it hard for us as they are fighting for their lives down at the bottom.
"Hopefully a good performance and we will get the 3 points."
Paddy Boyle returns from suspension for the Diamonds. If selected, midfielder Ross Docherty will play his last game before a similar one-match ban. The Warriors will miss top scorer Colin McMenamin through suspension.
Mat Northcroft is the referee.