Dumbarton vs Airdrieonians
February 7, 2020
Leon McCann says Airdrie aren’t out of the title race yet - but the Diamonds must get back to winning ways against Dumbarton this weekend.
Saturday’s trip to the C&G Systems Stadium follows a disappointing 1-0 defeat at home to Raith Rovers last weekend, with an early Ross Matthews strike deciding the tie.
Defender McCann points out that goals win games.
“We started off very poorly, and we lost an early goal because we just didn’t seem to get a grip of the game.
“In the second half I thought we came into it a bit more, but obviously we didn’t manage to score and that’s what we need to rectify this weekend.”
The win saw John McGlynn’s side extend their lead at the top of the table with the Kirkcaldy men now seven points clear of the third-placed Diamonds. Falkirk sit between the sides, three points from the top and four clear of Airdrie.
McCann expects more twists and turns with three months of the season remaining.
“We’re not out of it at all, there’s still a long way to go. Beating Raith would have put us in a totally different scenario, but we still believe we can do it.
“Nobody here wants to rely on play-offs, we want to go up as champions. That’s what everybody’s thinking - we can still go for the title if we get back to doing what we’re best at and start winning again.”
January was a good month for McCann on a personal level - after impressing on loan from Hamilton Academical in the first half of the season, the 19-year-old made his move to the Penny Cars Stadium a permanent one.
As well as picking up the sponsor’s Man of the Match award against Raith, the left-back also won the Player of the Month award, chosen by fans on social media.
McCann is delighted by the recognition, but remains focused on the bigger picture.
“The Player of the Month one was pleasing for me, because I was nominated twice before and didn’t win!
“For me it’s all about growing into the game more, and these awards are great but I’m just concentrating on improving myself and helping the team. As long as we win and get the three points, that’s all that matters.”
With the weekend’s Scottish Cup fixtures meaning that the teams immediately above and below the Diamonds are not in league action, Saturday’s trip to Dumbarton represents a chance to gain ground on Falkirk while increasing the gap on East Fife.
Despite already having chalked up two wins over Jim Duffy’s side this season, Leon knows that Airdrie will face a difficult afternoon.
“Dumbarton are a good team, and it’s a good place to go and play - although I hear it’s going to be very windy so the weather might be a factor.
“If we get back to doing what we do best like we were five or six weeks ago, we can win. We need to get back to playing football, passing and moving off the ball and getting balls in for the strikers.
“If you do that, guys like Calum Gallagher and Andy Ryan will snap up half chances and get you goals - and that’s what we need.”
Manager Ian Murray expects a close game against his old club.
“It’s another tough one but we’ve got a good record against Dumbarton. With Falkirk and East Fife not playing, it could be an important three points for us.
“Dumbarton have a good manager and good players - the last game down there was very tight and we’re expecting the same on Saturday, but it’s a game that we feel we can go and win.”
The Diamonds boss confirmed a few injury worries ahead of the match with strikers Dale Carrick and Patrick Pyott ruled out. Winger Craig Thomson is rated a slight doubt, but defender Adam Eckersley returns.
Referee Lloyd Wilson has overseen two Airdrie matches this term, July’s 2-2 Betfred Cup draw with Queen’s Park, and December’s home 2-1 win over Peterhead.
Saturday February 8, 2020
C&G Systems Stadium, Dumbarton
Referee: Lloyd Wilson
Assistants: Andy Milne, David Ingram