Preview: Airdrieonians vs East Fife
April 5, 2019
Scott Robertson says Airdrie need to keep up their high-tempo game to extend their much improved run of form against East Fife this weekend.
The big defender has been involved in each of the Diamonds’ last five matches after a spell on the sidelines - and Airdrie have only suffered one narrow defeat in that tricky run of games.
Robertson is pleased to be playing a part - despite being left disappointed after a frantic 3-3 draw against Dumbarton on Tuesday evening.
“It’s good to back after a long time out. I think I’ve done alright - I’ve started the last three games and we won the first two with a clean sheet, but it was frustrating to lose a couple of goals the other night.
“Obviously you’re going to concede goals at some point, but it was a poor way to lose them - so while we’re pleased with how we’ve been playing, we know there’s always room for improvement.”
As well as being an imposing presence in Airdrie’s defensive line, Robertson has also shown his eagerness to get forward, providing assists and a set-piece threat in his recent run of games.
“My preferred position would be centre half, but I do like to get forward when I’m playing right-back or wing-back.
“It’s good to help the boys out and get involved with setting them up.”
Part of the key to the Diamonds’ recent success has been an increased attacking tempo. With two difficult away ties in the last week, Robertson shrugs off any notion of tiredness creeping in.
“We’ve only lost one in the last five, winning three with three clean sheets, and I think when you’re on a good run it gives you a lift.
“We want to play at a high tempo, that’s what we’re about - and I think we’re hard to play against when we do that.
“Going forward we’ve got good ball players, and throughout the team we’ve got good legs and good energy, so a high tempo is key for us.”
With an intriguing battle for fourth spot - and the final promotion play-off place - hotting up, Airdrie’s fate is back in their own hands as they face East Fife this weekend.
The Diamonds have fared well against Darren Young’s side this season, although the Methil men were victorious in the first meeting back in September.
Cammy Russell gave Airdrie a 74th minute lead at Bayview, but ex-Diamond Liam Watt equalised a minute later and substitute Rory Currie grabbed a late winner for the Fifers.
Back at the Penny Cars Stadium in November, a stunning turnaround gave Airdrie an impressive win. A Kevin Smith double had the visitors in a strong position, but goals from Sean Crighton, Kyle Wilkie and a Darryl Duffy double gave the Diamonds a 4-2 victory.
And Leighton McIntosh was the Airdrie hero in January, heading his side to a 2-1 win after Wilkie and Anton Dowds had traded goals.
East Fife fans will be disappointed with their side’s recent form, having gone four games without a win. Victory on Saturday would draw the Diamonds level on points with a superior goal difference.
Scott believes a strong start was the missing ingredient against Dumbarton, and wants to see his side get off to a flier on Saturday.
Saturday April 6, 2019
Penny Cars Stadium, Airdrie
Refereee: Steven Reid
Assistants: Ivan Stankovic, Euan Birch
Click to enlarge infographic
“We’ll keep trying to play the way we have been for the last few weeks. We’ll keep the tempo high and make sure we’re at it.
“Hopefully we can get off to a better start than we did the other night - it can be hard to get up to that level of performance if you don’t start well.
“If we get off to a good start, that can be the key to a massive three points.”
Manager Ian Murray agrees that more of the same is required from his side.
“East Fife play with a lot of energy, and they’ll be a dangerous prospect for us.
“We’ll treat them with the respect they deserve, but if we play to our recent levels we’ll have a more than fair chance.”
Dale Carrick and Dean Hawkshaw return to the Diamonds’ squad, but Kieran MacDonald’s broken hand is likely to keep him out for another week. Scott Gallacher and Grant Gallagher remain sidelined.
Whistler Stephen Reid has refereed two Airdrie matches this season, with the Diamonds going down to 1-0 defeats against Montrose in August and Stenhousemuir in January.