Airdrieonians vs Forfar Athletic preview
15th January 2016
Kid gloves Rohan Ferguson has been in the headlines this week, but all the young goalkeeper wants is a quiet afternoon against Forfar.
Airdrie's last match produced an outstanding team performance against Premiership opposition desperate for a result.
In the first half the Diamonds’ defending limited Dundee United to very few chances and no goals. By contrast Airdrie took every opportunity to attack, making better use of the ball than the Premiership side but without being able to score.
Any concerns about 18-year-old Ferguson’s lack of experience in goal were soon dispelled by a consummate display which was to get him a deserved Man of the Match award. While United ratcheted up the pressure in the second half, Airdrie’s defending remained solid, supported by some great saves by Ferguson.
Only a stunning Blair Spittal free kick goal in the 79th minute allowed United to snatch a late win. Even then the tension was maintained until the final whistle with several late opportunities being made by the home side.
Airdrie fans’ disappointment in the result was matched by pride in their team’s performance.
With the unfortunate Diamonds out of the cup, it's back to League One duty this week with the added twist of recently-departed manager Gary Bollan returning with his new side, Forfar Athletic.
The sides have met twice already this season - Forfar winning 1-0 in the season opener at New Broomfield before a November trip to Station Park saw Airdrie race into a three-goal lead before the hosts mounted a comeback. The Diamonds clung on to record a 3-2 victory.
Having been in the first-team squad all season, Ferguson knows what to expect when the Loons come calling.
"I've watched Forfar from the bench, and they're always a good side and make it hard to play against them.
"I'm sure our ex-manager being in charge there will make things more difficult.
"If we perform as we did against United, I hope to be quiet - but then I do in every game."
With a man of the match performance already under his belt, does Rohan aim to hold on to the number 1 jersey for the rest of the season? The teenager's response is typically cool.
"Yeah, well... All I can do is give it my all and make it a difficult decision for the manager.
"Neilly's been different class this season so I'll need to work hard to take my chance."
New signings David Ferguson, Kieran MacDonald and Hugo Faria join the Airdrie squad, but David Cox misses out through suspension.
Forfar boss Gary Bollan has one new addition to his squad this week, with ex-Hamilton striker Andy Ryan joining up.
David Munro referees.