Heart of Midlothian vs Airdrieonians
January 17, 2020
Kyle MacDonald says the travelling support could be the ace in Airdrie’s pack as the Diamonds aim to trump Hearts.
The stage is set for a thrilling William Hill Scottish Cup fourth round tie at Tynecastle with well over 1500 away fans in attendance after an increase to the club’s initial ticket allocation.
Airdrie will be hoping to catch the Premiership side cold after a three-week winter break. While the Diamonds have been unbeaten over that spell, MacDonald expresses his frustration at the loss of a late East Fife equaliser last Saturday.
“It was quite a close game, but in the end we were hanging on a bit for the three points and it was disappointing to lose the goal from a setpiece.
“If we had taken the three points it would have been a great win for us, but the draw was probably fair in the end.”
The League One title race resumes in one week’s time - but for now, cup fever is the talk of the town.
For the second year running, Airdrie have been handed an attractive away tie against Premiership opposition at the fourth-round stage, and defender MacDonald can’t wait for the trip to Edinburgh - and the vociferous backing of the Diamonds faithful.
“Everybody’s really looking forward to it, it’s a big occasion for us all. We know it’s a big game because we’ve had a few team meetings about it - so we should be well drilled!
“It’s great to see so many tickets sold. The fans have been great with us for the last few months and it’s going to be a big boost to see them filling the away end.”
Having just turned 20 last week, MacDonald is too young to remember Airdrie’s cup exploits in the 1990s, but thanks to a familiar face he is well aware that the Diamonds beat Hearts twice to reach the final.
“I had Andy Smith as a coach at Motherwell when I was 16, and I know he scored in the 92 final because he mentioned it once or twice!
“For me personally, you can’t beat the cup. It’s a chance to test yourself against the best teams in the country, and that’s what we all want to be doing on a regular basis.
“There’s nothing better in football than upsets and fairytale cup runs!”
With the recent appointment of new manager Daniel Stendel and the recent winter break, the Jambos may be a bit of an unknown quantity - but Kyle says he and his team-mates have been doing their homework.
“From what we know, they’re a team who likes to pass the ball about but they’re also capable of going long with the two bigger boys upfront.
“I don’t want to give too much away, but we’ve looked at them a good few times and we’re all well prepared for our own gameplan.
“All we can do is go out there and give it our all, and who knows what could happen?”
Manager Ian Murray, a former Hibernian captain, has plenty of experience of football in the capital. The gaffer is looking forward to a big day out for his side.
“First and foremost it’s an exciting day for us in terms of the occasion, but we need to go and make sure we do ourselves justice - the last thing we want to do it let anybody down.
“We know the fans will be behind us regardless of the scoreline, they’ve bought a great number of tickets and they’ll give us great backing.”
The Diamonds boss has a full squad to choose from ahead of the Tynecastle trip, with the exception of new loan signing Andy Ryan who is cup-tied after featuring for Dunfermline in the previous round.
Don Robertson referees his first Airdrie tie of the season.
Saturday January 18, 2020
Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh
Referee: Don Robertson
Assistants: Alan Mulvanny, Graham McNeillie