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Ayr United preview

3rd September 2016

Sean McIntosh is hoping for a strong start in Sunday's Irn Bru Cup tie at Ayr - and the midfielder thinks Airdrie can see it through.

Former Celtic youth Sean has played an important part in the early stages of the Diamonds' season, filling in as defensive cover before stepping into a more familiar midfield berth.

It's a fitting reward for 'Shifty', who caught the eye after being deployed at the heart of the U20s defence under Kevin McBride last season - a role which the 19-year-old wasn't accustomed to.

Now bringing that versatility to the first team, McIntosh is satisfied with his senior football bow so far.

"I think I've done okay. I was playing centre back for a spell which isn't my natural position, but I thought I did alright.

"Personally I do feel like I've still got a lot more to give and hopefully with more experience that can be the case."

The step up from the Development League is something McIntosh has noticed, but full time football isn't a completely new experience.

"I was full time at Celtic, which obviously didn't work out how I wanted, but I was glad of the opportunity to come here and work with Barra in the 20s - and now it's paying off with a chance in the first team."

"There's definitely a big difference between the 20s and the first team - not just physically, but the demands and expectations as well."

Looking ahead to Sunday's cup showdown at Somerset Park, Sean is unfazed by Ayr's Championship status.

"It's obviously going to be difficult, but if we get off to a good start and play well I don't think we'll have any problems."

Head Coach Kevin McBride added: "It's always going to be tough against a team from a higher league, but we're going there to try and win the game."

Kevin Schmidt missed last weekend's trip to Stenhousemuir, and McBride confirmed that the striker is still struggling with a heel injury.

Adam Brown is also a concern for Airdrie, having missed training through illness this week.

New signing Jack Leitch goes straight into the Diamonds squad and could make his official debut having already featured three times as a trialist.

Ayr United have also been busy in the transfer market this week, securing the services of former Partick Thistle and Kilmarnock defender Conrad Balatoni.

Ian McCall has added more top flight experience since the Honest Men's promotion in the shape of Gary Harkins and Darryll Meggatt, and the Airdrie faithful will already be aware of the quality of Paddy Boyle and Ross Docherty.

Barry Cook is the referee for the third round tie, which is played to a finish on the day with extra time and penalty kicks if necessary.

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