Airdrieonians vs Forfar Athletic
August 2, 2019
Callum Fordyce wants Airdrie to learn from their Betfred exit as the League One campaign gets underway against Forfar Athletic.
The Diamonds welcome Jim Weir’s men to the Penny Cars Stadium for Saturday’s curtain-raiser - the fourth time in five seasons that the sides have met on the opening day.
The Loons lost some big players in the summer, but have recruited well to replace them and continue their fine form into this season with qualification from their Betfred Cup group.
The changes have been more sweeping at Airdrie, where 27-year-old Fordyce is one of several new faces in the dressing room.
The former Livingston and Dunfermline defender is enjoying his start with the club.
“I think I’ve settled in quite well, the boys who were here already have been very welcoming”
“There’s obviously been quite a few new boys who have come in, but we’ve all been gelling well together. There’s a good team spirit.”
Already showing consistently impressive performances in the right-back role, Fordyce is thought of by many as a more natural central defender, but he says that’s not necessarily the case.
“I think if you look back over my career, I’ve probably played as much at right-back as I have at centre-back, albeit maybe more in my younger days.
“I’m capable of playing there, but I’m happy playing wherever the manager wants me to. I’m enjoying it now, and long may it continue.”
Last Saturday saw the final match of the Betfred Cup group stages, and at half-time in the Lanarkshire derby the Diamonds looked to be in with a good chance of progression, leading Premiership Hamilton 2-0 with goals from Callum Smith and Ally Roy.
A contentious penalty early in the second half handed Accies a lifeline, and they turned things around to snatch a 3-2 win with a minute remaining as Airdrie pushed for a win.
Overall, Fordyce thought his side showed up well in a tough group.
“We competed well against the teams from higher divisions, and we’re disappointed not to progress when it was in our own hands. But that’s football, we just have to put it behind us and move forward.
“We’ve learned a few lessons over the course of the four games, we know we’re capable of scoring goals and at the other end nobody’s really opened us up, the goals we’ve conceded have mostly been long range strikes or penalties.
“There’s a lot to look forward to going into the league games, but it’s never a bad thing to learn a few lessons early doors.”
Diamonds fans will be hoping those lessons can help their side to a win over Forfar this weekend, and Callum is looking forward to a tightly-contested fixture.
“Forfar will be right up there challenging over the season, and they’ll be flying at the moment after a good season and a great start in the cup.
“We aim to up there pushing for titles or play-offs as well, so we need to make sure we get off to a good start.”
Manager Ian Murray is in agreement.
“We know from last season that we’re in for a tough 90 minutes - it’s not the easiest start for us, but I’m sure Forfar will be saying the same.
“Three points would give us a great start, and we’re ready for it.”
Goalkeepers Scott Gallacher (knee) and Reece Willison (hand) continue to miss out for the Diamonds, who add Paul McKay to an otherwise fully fit squad, having received international clearance for the former Cardiff City defender.
Kevin Graham referees the League One opener.
Saturday August 3, 2019
The Penny Cars Stadium, Airdrie
Referee: Kevin Graham
Assistants: Ivan Stankovic, Kevin McElhinney
Issue 3 of matchday magazine Diamonds is available in the Club Shop and around the ground before Saturday’s match. Packed with the usual news, match reports and features, this issue also features a round up of the recent fortunes of the teams in League One and a look ahead to the reserve side’s opening fixtures. Don't forget to pick up your copy!