Preview: Airdrieonians vs Stenhousemuir
April 12, 2019
Scott Stewart says three points are all that matter now as Airdrie head towards the end of the season with a play-off place within their reach.
The Diamonds are relying on favours from other teams now, but with meetings yet to take place between the sides scrapping for fourth place, a number of permutations are possible.
Stewart has played a big part in the four-match unbeaten streak which has kept Airdrie in contention - grabbing three goals in two games against Brechin City and Dumbarton - and he’s pleased with his contribution.
“I’ve been happy with my form - especially since I hadn’t scored all season, to get three in two games was pleasing.
“The goals came when we were on a decent run, so it’s good to be able to help continue that. It’s nice to get on the scoresheet, but results are obviously more important.”
Two of those goals came from similar moves, as Diamonds captain Sean Crighton flicked on a set-piece delivery for Stewart to steer home a close-range header.
The wing-back admits it was more due to luck than design.
“I’d love to say it was planned!
“I know there’s a good chance of getting on the end of flicks from set-pieces, because big Sean is a great threat in the air, so I was able to anticipate that and put it in… twice!”
Airdrie’s recent run of matches culminated in last weekend’s goalless draw with East Fife - a game which promised to be massive for both sides, but ultimately disappointed.
Stewart knows it wasn’t a classic.
“It wasn’t a great game to be fair, and the 0-0 scoreline probably sums it up.
“It still keeps our unbeaten run going, and although we wanted the win it still gives us a chance to push for the play-offs.”
With Saturday’s match against Stenhousemuir kicking off at 5:15pm due to BBC ALBA’s live coverage, Stewart and his team-mates will know the other league results before they play.
The 23-year-old says that won’t have any affect on the Diamonds’ mindset.
“Whatever happens, we need wins now, so our mentality won’t change.
“We just need to win the rest of our games and see where that leaves us. We’re on a good run of form, so hopefully we can do that and get into the play-offs.”
Saturday’s visitors may be bottom of the table, but as usual they’ve proven they can be a thorn in Airdrie’s side this season.
The Diamonds won the first meeting at Ochilview, Ryan Conroy’s double coming either side of a Crighton own goal after Scott Robertson had seen red early in the match.
The Warriors got revenge in October at Penny Cars Stadium, Mark McGuigan’s late goal the difference between the sides.
And back in Larbert in January, Thomas Halleran’s free kick gave his side a 75th-minute winner.
Scott thinks the chance to even the score can provide an extra incentive for Airdrie - not that they need it.
Saturday April 13, 2019
Penny Cars Stadium, Airdrie
Refereee: David Munro
Assistants: Daniel McFarlane, Ross Macleod
Fourth Official: Gavin Ross
Click to enlarge infographic
“Stenhousemuir have been a bit of a bogey team for us in the time that I’ve been here, and obviously this season they’ve beaten us twice and we’ve beaten them once.
“We’ll be looking to make up for those two defeats and two late winners against us, but our main motivation is the push for a play-off spot, so we’re looking to get the win regardless.
“I’d be delighted to get on the scoresheet again, but if we win it doesn’t matter who scores!”
Manager Ian Murray wants a professional performance from his side, but knows the visitors will pose a threat.
“Although Stenhousemuir are at the foot of the table they’ve already beaten us twice - so we know they’re a dangerous side.
“At this stage of the season teams can find themselves picking up points where they least expect it, so we need to do the business.”
The Diamonds boss has injury concerns ahead of the run-in with the news that further scans on Dale Carrick’s leg have revealed a slight fracture which rules the striker out for the rest of the season.
Also missing for the remainder of the campaign is defender Chris O’Neil, who picked up a hamstring tear against East Fife.
Scott Gallacher and Grant Gallagher are already sidelined for the remaining fixtures.
The news concerning Kieran MacDonald is better, with the defender expected to return soon after missing out with a broken hand.
Referee David Munro is in charge of his third Airdrie game of the season, having previously overseen September’s 3-1 defeat at Arbroath and January’s 1-1 home draw with Raith Rovers.