Airdrieonians vs Forfar Athletic preview
7th August 2015
Alan Lithgow wants to start the league season with a home win - and end it with at least a play-off place.
The 27-year-old is part of Airdrie's new look defence after signing from League One rivals Stenhousemuir in the summer, and he wants his new side to buck recent trends by making a strong start to the league campaign.
As the Diamonds prepare to welcome Forfar Athletic to New Broomfield for the season's curtain-raiser, Lithgow is keen to send out a statement of intent.
"Winning your first game is important, especially if it's at home. You need to win your home games.
"It's against a team that could have won our league last season. If you beat a team like Forfar on the first day of the season it sends a message to the other teams."
Poor starts have scuppered Airdrie's play-off hopes in the last two seasons. On both occasions the Diamonds looked more like relegation candidates for the opening spell, but turned things around to miss out on a top-four finish by a few points.
Lithgow is determined to prevent that happening again.
"Airdrie are known for starting slow and finishing strong. We're hoping to change that this year by starting strong and keeping it going throughout the season - which we're more than capable of doing."
The Diamonds start their league campaign on the back of a League Cup win at Stirling, and Petrofac defeat at Annan.
Alan says lessons have been learned, and a top-four league finish is the priority.
"The defeat at Annan was a game that we learned a lot from. I think we saw that against Stirling; we were more secure throughout the team, kept our shape well and kept their chances to a minimum.
"As for the league, I'm not going to say we can't win it - but I think realistically we are aiming for the play-offs.
"If we don't make the play-offs it'll be a disappointing season!"
Airdrie are still without the services of striker Jim Lister and midfielder Marc Fitzpatrick.
Boss Gary Bollan said: "Jimmy is waiting for his hernia operation now, and Marc won’t be rushed back because he has the experience to know his body well enough and when he should return."
Dick Campbell's Forfar have seen a few big name departures over the summer, with important players like Darren Dods and Dale Hilson moving on to pastures new.
But the Angus side have recruited well, bringing in the likes of Thomas O'Brien from Cowdenbeath to bolster their squad.
After some exciting meetings between the sides last season, it should be a tie worthy of getting the season underway.