Partick Thistle vs Airdrie
July 12, 2019
Diamonds captain Sean Crighton is ready for the new season - and wants Airdrie to get out the traps with a shock win at Firhill.
The club has seen many changes over the summer, with a hybrid system being introduced which has resulted in a large turnover of playing staff.
Defender Crighton says spirits are high as the big kick-off approaches.
“I’m looking forward to it, I think we’ve shown up well in the pre-season games.
“The full-time/part-time thing seems to be working well, the squad have gelled well. I’ve been coming in full-time as well, so I’ve seen most of the boys during the day and everybody’s looking forward to Saturday.”
With the Betfred Cup group stages providing the curtain-raiser, Airdrie will open their competitive season with ties against Partick Thistle, Clyde, Queen’s Park and Hamilton Academical.
With sides from each of the four senior leagues, Group F looks to be a challenging and intriguing one, but Crighton insists that the League One campaign remains top priority.
“Our aim has to be to finish as high in the table as we can - I know that’s true every year, but if we can’t win the league then it’s imperative that we finish in the top four.
“We’re starting the season with a lot of confidence, so we need to make sure that we go and back it up.”
Much has been made of the early start to the Betfred Cup, with the media referring to it as an extension of pre-season training for some clubs.
Crighton says that’s not necessarily the case at Airdrie.
“I would say it’s a bit of both. The squad haven’t been together long, so there’s still a slight pre-season feel, but competitive games always matter.
“In any cup competition, you want to go as far as you can. We’re in a really hard group - and if we can get out of it, it’ll stand us in really good stead going in to the league campaign.”
So attention turns to Firhill as the Diamonds face Gary Caldwell’s Partick Thistle for their season opener.
Sean anticipates a tough 90 minutes, but says confidence is high.
“It’s always going to be a difficult game against higher-ranked opposition.
“I think every team in Scotland can give you a hard game, we’ve seen that in pre-season.
“Partick won’t underestimate us, but we’ll certainly go there believing that we can get something from the game.”
Manager Ian Murray is also looking forward to the trip to Maryhill.
“It’s good to get back into it against a team from a higher division who will be looking to kick on from last season.
“It’s a good test for us, pre-season is one thing but going into competitive matches where the results matter is different.
“We’ve got a lot of new faces in the squad, but everyone is looking forward to it.”
Goalkeeper Reece Willison (knee) and Kyle MacDonald (calf) will miss out for the Diamonds, but both are expected to return to training next week.
Ex-Diamond Joe Cardle may feature for the Jags, who added veteran striker Kenny Miller over the summer.
Grant Irvine referees the Firhill tie. Admission information can be found here.
Saturday July 13, 2019
The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill, Glasgow
Referee: Grant Irvine
Assistants: Graeme Stewart, Ross Birrell