Montrose vs Airdrieonians
February 28, 2020
Andy Ryan is back in scoring form, but the striker says points are more important than goals as the Diamonds prepare to face Montrose on Saturday.
The former Player of the Year returned to the club on loan in January, and is now back up to speed with two goals in Airdrie’s last two matches - including the opener against Peterhead at Balmoor last weekend.
Ryan was delighted with a hardworking display to take the three points.
“It was a good win for us in another game where the conditions were difficult.
“In terms of keeping the momentum going, I thought the boys were great with a good solid professional performance.”
The 25-year-old had opened the scoring from the penalty spot following a 46th-minute foul on fellow Dunfermline-loanee Callum Smith, with substitute Craig Thomson securing the win with seven minutes remaining.
Having reopened his Diamonds account against Clyde the previous weekend, the fans’ favourite is pleased to be giving something back.
“I’m delighted to have scored in the last two games, because first and foremost it’s helped the team. If I can continue to score, great - but the most important thing is the team.
“I haven’t really set myself any targets, I just want to get back to enjoying my football. I knew I could do that by coming back to a club where everyone has been great with me, and I want to try to repay that as best I can.”
Ryan’s last full season at the club ended in disappointment as the Diamonds lost out on penalties to eventual play-off winners Alloa Athletic, but the striker senses more belief in the dressing room this time round.
“I’m sure everyone sets their sights on promotion at the start, and the lads have done brilliantly to get themselves into a strong position at this point.
“It’s now just about taking it game by game and concentrating on ourselves to give ourselves the best possible opportunity.
“The boys have been great with me since I came in - there’s a real good balance in the squad and a real belief in what we are trying to do.”
Airdrie’s next hurdle is Montrose, who have been consistently impressive after a poor start to their season.
The sides have met twice already. The Diamonds beat the ten-man Gable Endies at Links Park in August with Callum Smith netting after Ally Roy had missed the penalty kick which saw Seán Dillon red-carded.
Stewart Petrie’s side exacted their revenge with a 3-1 win at the Penny Cars Stadium in October, Graham Webster and a Blair Lyons double overturning Smith’s early strike.
It’s a step into the unknown for Andy, but he knows there are no easy games.
“I’ve not played Montrose yet, but from what the boys are saying in the changing room it’s going to be a difficult game.
“You can never take any game lightly in this league, and they’ve got a lot of experience in their team.
“It will be a hard game, but if we play how we have been the past few weeks then we’ll give ourselves a good chance.”
Manager Ian Murray is looking for a win ahead of the final round of fixtures.
“It’s the last game of the quarter and we go into it in good form, so we’re looking to continue our own play-off push and at the same time hamper Montrose, who have been very consistent since the first quarter.
“We’re expecting a very hard game, but it’s one we’re looking forward to.”
The Diamonds boss welcomes Dale Carrick back to his squad but Adam Eckersley (calf) and Patrick Pyott (knee) continue to miss out. Callum Smith was substituted at Peterhead with a slight hamstring strain, and faces late checks ahead of the trip to Angus.
Referee Lloyd Wilson was in charge of the recent goalless draw at Dumbarton, and also officiated December’s 2-1 home win over Peterhead and the 2-2 Betfred Cup draw with Queen’s Park in July.
Montrose have confirmed that segregation will be in place for this match, and advise supporters to arrive in plenty of time to allow safe entry to the ground.