Airdrieonians vs Falkirk
December 27, 2019
Callum Fordyce insists that Airdrie’s defeat at Clyde was merely a blip - and says the Diamonds are ready to face a Falkirk side out for revenge.
Saturday sees the Bairns travel to the Penny Cars Stadium with the pre-season title favourites be looking for their first win of the season against an Airdrie side who sit one point above them in the League One table.
A late winner at Montrose saw Falkirk gain ground as Danny Lennon’s Clyde beat the Diamonds 3-1, and defender Fordyce concedes that Airdrie weren’t at their best.
“Apart from the goals we conceded Hutts only had two or three saves to make, and we’ve had a good few clear opportunities - but we know ourselves we weren’t really at the races for the first 35 minutes, and if you give a team a two-goal lead it’s always going to be hard to come back.
“It was just a bad day at the office. We’ve been good at bouncing back so far, and we need to show that we can do that again.”
The Broadwood defeat, coupled with results elsewhere, mean the top of the table is tighter than ever as we go into the final round of matches in 2019. Leaders Raith Rovers, East Fife and Airdrie are separated only by goal difference with Falkirk one point behind in fourth place.
Fordyce is happy with the Diamonds’ progress.
“The way we started the season wasn’t good enough, but we’ve come a long way since then and to be level on points with the leaders at Christmas is a great achievement.
It’s a tight league, and everybody knows that every game is a cup final now. Every team will have ups and downs so it’s just about finding that consistency again.”
This weekend sees the third meeting of the season between Airdrie and Falkirk, with the Diamonds on top so far.
A stuffy match at the Penny Cars Stadium in August ended goalless, but the return fixture in November will undoubtedly go down as one of the highlights of Airdrie’s season. Paul McKay had given the Diamonds a first-half lead before Declan McManus levelled the tie with 19 minutes remaining. Just as another draw seemed inevitable, Calum Gallagher popped up with a 93rd-minute winner in front of the large travelling support.
There has since been a change of management at the Falkirk Stadium, with Lee Miller and David McCracken taking over following Ray McKinnon’s sacking, but the manner of the November defeat will still likely prove to be an added incentive for Falkirk.
Callum says Airdrie are capable of staying on track with another big result against the Bairns.
“It’s a big game, especially with East Fife and Raith Rovers playing each other. The boys are right up for it - we believe that the Clyde result was just a wee bump in the road for us, and that’s football.
“We’ll take each game as it comes, and treat every one as a big one. With us getting a last minute winner the last time we met Falkirk, they’ll have the bit between their teeth for this one - but we’ll be ready for it.”
Manager Ian Murray believes another tight affair lies ahead.
“Based on our previous meetings, it should be a good competitive match.
“The results and the table show that the teams are evenly-matched, but we’ll certainly go into it looking to get the win.”
The Diamonds boss confirmed that Dean Hawkshaw (ankle) is still a major doubt, while fellow midfielder Charlie Reilly (ankle) could face up to three months on the sidelines.
Referee David Dickinson is in charge of this fixture for the second time this season, having officiated the 0-0 draw in August. The whistler also oversaw Airdrie’s 1-0 win at Montrose in the same month.
Saturday December 28, 2019
The Penny Cars Stadium, Airdrie
Referee: David Dickinson
Assistants: Andrew McMillan, Jordan Cousland
Issue 14 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 covers both of our festive fixtures against Falkirk and Forfar Athletic, and features a look at both teams’ season so far. Don't forget to pick up your copy!