Preview: Ayr United vs Airdrieonians
February 23, 2018
Jordan McGregor says Airdrie are determined to maintain this season’s unbeaten record against high-flying Ayr - and the Diamonds are disappointed not to have taken maximum points against the title challengers.
Centre-back McGregor (20) spent the first half of the season on loan at Airdrie from Hamilton Academical, but made the switch permanent in January after negotiating his release from the Premiership side.
He explains: “I had a chat about my future with the manager at Hamilton, and it didn’t look like I’d be getting a new deal in the summer so we agreed that I’d be better to come here and play week in and week out with Airdrie.
“I’ve always enjoyed it here, there’s a good bunch of young players at the club. Everyone gets on well, so that helps the team to gel and makes it enjoyable to play here.”
A string of commanding performances from McGregor have played their part in an overall upturn in form by the Diamonds, but the big defender blotted his copybook with a red card in the recent home match against Arbroath.
Jordan protests his innocence.
“It was disappointing. For the first yellow I didn’t think I caught the boy - but even if I did, it’s a foul but never a booking!
“And the second was a handball I couldn’t really do much about. It’s done and I’ve served my suspension now, so I can get back to focusing on the team.”
That focus turns to Somerset Park on Saturday, where Ayr continue their attempt at an immediate return to the Championship.
McGregor was on the scoresheet the last time Airdrie visited the home of the Honest Men in an exciting October meeting which ended in a 2-2 draw.
Coupled with December’s 2-0 home victory over Ian McCall’s men, Jordan believes that result shows the Diamonds’ dominance despite Ayr’s loftier league position.
“Ayr have obviously done very well over the course of the season, but I feel that we’ve been the better team when we’ve met, and we should have won both games.
“We were excellent when we beat them 2-0 here, we battered them that day. There’s no reason we can’t go down there and do that again.”
And can we expect another goal from Jojo?
“Why not? I need to get back on the scoresheet soon. Last time I got one was in the cup, so I need to get back to scoring league goals!”
Manager Stevie Findlay is under no illusions as to the difficulty of Saturday’s task.
“Our two meetings with Ayr were very different games, but both very tough. This one will be just as tough, especially at their place with them chasing the title - but we’ve got our own chase.
“We’ve got to go there collectively and make sure we put on a performance. If we compete in every area, and we show the quality and effort that we’ve shown in the first half of our last three games, then I think we’re a match for anybody on the day.”
Ryan Conroy’s return from injury received a welcome boost this week when he played - and scored - in the Diamonds U20s match against East Kilbride. The midfielder is described as being “almost there”.
Referee Alan Newlands showed red cards to two opposition players in his only other Airdrie match this season, October’s 2-2 draw with Albion Rovers.