Preview: East Fife vs Airdrieonians
January 3, 2019
Leighton McIntosh thinks Airdrie have what it takes to keep building their momentum as they take on East Fife this weekend.
The Diamonds striker was at the double with two first-half goals in last Saturday’s 3-0 home win over Stranraer, and was rightly pleased with his - and the team’s - performance after his fifth minute opener.
“It was a good start, getting a goal that early gives you confidence for the rest of the game. To get a double makes it even better.
“As a striker I’m always looking to get on the scoresheet to keep myself in the team, so it was good to get the goals.”
The win maintained Airdrie’s 100% record over the Stair Park side this season, having already taken 2-1 victories in the two previous meetings.
McIntosh feels the match itself was harder than the scoreline suggests.
“It was a tough game, just like Brechin the week before.
“We knew Stranraer were a hard-working, physical team and the manager told us if we matched that work ethic our quality would come through - and it did.”
The result made it two wins in a row for the Diamonds as the second half of the season got underway, and McIntosh is pleased that his pre-season targets are still within reach.
“I’d always like to push on and do better. I’m not quite at my goal target yet, but there’s still a long time to go.
“In terms of the team, I feel like we’re getting into a better rhythm now so we can pick up some consistency. At the start of the season it was very hot and cold, but I feel like we’re building some momentum now.”
That momentum may prove important as Airdrie travel to face a tricky tie at Bayview. The spoils have been shared between the Diamonds and the Fifers so far this season, with Liam Watt and Rory Currie turning round a Cammy Russell opener to give Darren Young’s men a 2-1 home win in September.
There was another turnaround at the Penny Cars Stadium in November, with a Kevin Smith double putting East Fife ahead before Sean Crighton, Kyle Wilkie and a Darryl Duffy double earned a fantastic win for Airdrie.
Leighton says that comeback can inspire the Diamonds this weekend.
“We had a great result against them at home, so no matter what happens on Saturday we know we’ve got the ability to bounce back.
“We’ve got the quality and determination to go there and get a result, and there’s no reason why we can’t win.”
Airdrie boss Ian Murray is focussed on drawing closer to the Fifers who sit third in the table, six points ahead of the Diamonds.
“East Fife got a good result against Raith last week, and they’re doing well in the league.
“The game gives us an opportunity to close the gap first and foremost, so that’s our incentive on Saturday. It’ll be a tough, but we’re coming into good form ourselves.”
The manager is still missing goalkeepers Scott Gallacher (cruciate) and David Hutton (ankle) along with midfielder Ryan Conroy (hamstring), but Hibernian loanee Josh Campbell goes straight into the squad for Saturday’s trip to Methil
Euan Anderson referees his first Airdrie tie this season.