Preview: Airdrieonians vs Arbroath
April 26, 2019
Kyle Wilkie says the result still matters as Airdrie welcome champions Arbroath to the Penny Cars Stadium.
The Diamonds’ slim hopes of a play-off spot were ended last weekend with a 2-1 defeat at Montrose, while the Red Lichties had already sewn the title up the week before.
Wilkie was a second-half substitute at Links Park, and the midfielder felt that Airdrie played well in spells but weren’t good enough over the piece.
“Our inconsistency has killed us, and that’s been the story of our season.
“We’ve been up and down, but any time we have managed to string a good wee run together, it hasn’t happened at the right time of the season.
“This league is always tight, one or two at the top usually pull away and the rest comes down to who can show the most consistency.”
A late acquisition in last summer’s transfer window, Wilkie joined the Diamonds from East Fife. With his one-year contract coming to an end, the 28-year-old feels that inconsistency has also blighted his personal performances.
“It’s been up and down for myself too - I never had a pre-season and I would hope that if I can do that next year, I can perform better throughout the season.
“I think I’ve played quite well in spells, but I’ve obviously not been at my best at other times. I’ve enjoyed being here though, so we’ll see what happens next season.”
League One winners Arbroath are the final visitors to the Penny Cars Stadium this season, having finally got their hands on the title with a 1-1 draw at Brechin City two weeks ago.
The Gayfield men have topped the table since day one, and Wilkie has been impressed by their resilience.
“They’re a well-organised side, and they’ve managed to grind out results when they’ve needed to.
“In Dick Campbell, they’ve got an experienced head in charge, so he obviously knows what he’s doing.”
The champions have certainly had the upper hand over Airdrie throughout the league campaign. Joao Victoria gave the Diamonds the lead on the road in September, but second half goals from Gavin Swankie, Colin Hamilton and Ryan Wallace ensured the three points stayed at a windy Gayfield.
Airdrie played well in the first home meeting in December, but Ricky Little grabbed the only goal of the game on 27 minutes.
And the Diamonds led twice in Angus back in February, Dale Carrick and Darryl Duffy scoring either side of a Bobby Linn free-kick before the same player despatched two second half penalties in controversial circumstances to give his side a 3-2 victory.
With both sides having confirmed their status for next season, Kyle isn’t sure what sort of match Airdrie are in for this weekend - but is confident the Diamonds will give their all for the three points.
“It’s hard to know what to expect - when I won the league with East Fife there was a fair bit of partying, and that’s the case at Arbroath judging by some of their players’ Twitter accounts!
“It can be hard to keep up the mentality and standards that won you the league, but they’re obviously a good side so they could turn up and still be right on it.
Saturday April 27, 2019
Penny Cars Stadium, Airdrie
Refereee: David Lowe
Assistants: Craig Ferguson, Scott Leslie
Click to enlarge infographic
“Although we can’t make the play-offs, we still see this as an important game. It’s the last home game of the season, and we feel we owe the supporters a win.”
Manager Ian Murray wants to see his side break their duck against the league winners.
“Our fans haven’t had too much to shout about this year, so we want them to go away looking forward to next season.
“In games like these it would be easy for the guys to down tools, but I’d be extremely disappointed if that happened.”
The Diamonds boss may add Darryl Duffy (groin) and Ben Mackenzie (knee) to his lengthy injury list, describing both as “struggling”. Scott Gallacher, Jordan Houston, Chris O’Neil, Grant Gallagher and Dale Carrick are already definitely out for Airdrie. Scott Robertson is suspended after his late red card at Montrose.
Referee David Lowe has overseen two Airdrie victories this season - August’s 2-1 win at Stenhousemuir and December’s 3-0 home triumph over Stranraer. The whistler was also in charge of the Diamonds’ 2-0 defeat at Raith Rovers.