Albion Rovers vs Airdrieonians
November 22, 2019
Paul McKay says a cup derby win would be a huge boost for Airdrie as the Diamonds prepare to take on rivals Albion Rovers.
The midfielder turned 23 this week and helping his side to the top of the table was the perfect birthday present, with a 2-0 win over Stranraer making it an enjoyable first visit to Stair Park for McKay.
“It was my first time down there, but the boys had all said it was a tough place to go, and I think Saturday’s game showed that.
“We had to work hard for the points, but we’re happy to come away with the win we needed to go top of the league.”
McKay had initially been deployed at full-back after joining the club from Cardiff City in the summer, showing his versatility as he provided cover for the injured Kyle MacDonald. A move into the centre of midfield followed, with the former Doncaster and Leeds man performing well and weighing in with some important goals.
“That’s the position I wanted to play when I came in - I’m happy to play anywhere I’m needed, but I’m glad I can repay the manager’s faith in me and start scoring a few goals from midfield.
“At the end of the day, whoever gets the goals it’s the three points that matter. If we can carry that on throughout the rest of the season, we can keep pushing to hold onto the top spot.”
The Diamonds’ bid to fend off their challengers is put on hold this week, with the small matter of a derby against local rivals Albion Rovers in the third round of the William Hill Scottish Cup.
Paul believes the nature of the tie at the Reigart Stadium means there’s no chance of it becoming a distraction.
“We want to win every game we go into, and Saturday’s no different. As well as putting us into the next round, a win would keep our momentum going when we do get back to league duties.
“I’ve heard the park will be similar to Stranraer, and being a local derby it will be interesting. It’s one the fans will definitely want us to win, so we’ll be trying our best to do that.
“There’s no doubt that both teams will be up for it and desperate to get the win, so we’ll be doing everything to make sure it’s Airdrie who go through.”
Manager Ian Murray believes a number of factors could potentially make Saturday’s tie a difficult one to negotiate.
“It’s a different occasion for us as it’s a cup game, and the fact it’s a local derby adds a bit of spice to the match.
“Cup games are a tricky proposition anyway, but add in the rivalry and the fact we’re away from home, and it’s a really tough match for us - but it’s one we’re looking forward to as we’re going into it in really good form.”
Scott Gallacher (knee) and Craig Thomson (arm) remain sidelined for the Diamonds, but Adam Eckersley (rib) and Calum Gallagher (ankle) both took part in training this week and are expected to be in contention.
Kevin Graham referees the third round clash. His only other Airdrie match this season was the opening league defeat to Forfar Athletic.
Information regarding the tie can be found here.
Saturday November 23, 2019
The Reigart Stadium, Coatbridge
Referee: Kevin Graham
Assistants: Ivan Stankovic, Scott Robert Anderson