Airdrieonians vs Raith Rovers
January 31, 2020
Nat Wedderburn wants home advantage to count in Airdrie’s favour as the Diamonds aim to close the gap on league leaders Raith.
John McGlynn’s men visit the Penny Cars Stadium this weekend, and midfielder Wedderburn is hoping for three points against his old club after the Kirkcaldy side edged further in front last weekend.
While Raith were battling to a 4-3 win over Montrose at Stark’s Park, Airdrie played out a goalless draw with bottom side Stranraer.
Wedderburn feels the Diamonds should have won the match.
“It was disappointing not to get the three points. In the second half we had enough chances to score, and it always looked like a game where one goal would be all it took.
“Stranraer didn’t really test us, so it was disappointing that we couldn’t get the goal to win the game.”
The results saw Rovers stay top on 42 points, with Airdrie on 38 in third spot ahead of this weekend’s clash.
It’s the third meeting of the season between the sides, with Raith edging a dull 90 minutes in September as Grant Anderson scored the only goal of the game.
December’s meeting at Stark’s Park was a somewhat livelier affair as the home side won 1-0 again, despite ending the game with nine men following red cards for Iain Davidson and goalscorer Ross Matthews. Airdrie’s Callum Fordyce was also ordered off, although his dismissal was later overturned, and the Diamonds were denied a late penalty after a handball in the box.
Everything points to it being another close match this time round, and that’s exactly what Wedderburn is expecting.
“I think it’ll be pretty much the same as it has been - both times we’ve played them it’s been really tight.
“Raith managed to get the 1-0 wins in both games, but I think we were a bit unfortunate in the last one when there were a few decisions that didn’t go our way.
“Saturday is a different game, so I don’t expect the last one to have any bearing on this, but we know it’s going to be tight again.”
With the gap between the sides increasing last weekend, fans may consider this a ‘must-win’ for the Diamonds - although Nat says that’s not necessarily the case, confidence is high in the Airdrie dressing room.
“It’s a must-not-lose anyway. We don’t want the gap to go to seven points against a team of Raith’s quality so we’ll definitely be going out to win the game. At the same time we must be wary of mistakes as we know we can’t afford defeat.
“Our home record has been decent so there’s no reason not to be confident of getting the three points.”
Manager Ian Murray hopes that the events of the last meeting can spur his players on.
“We’re expecting a good game - every time we’ve played them since I came in it’s been very tight.
“In the last meeting we were excellent for most of the game and didn’t feel we got what we deserved - Saturday is a chance to make amends.”
The Diamonds boss is without Adam Eckersley (calf) and Patrick Pyott (knee) ahead of the match. Meanwhile, midfielder Aidan Meechan has been released from his contract and has left the club.
Saturday’s match is refereed by David Dickinson, who has previously taken charge of both of this season’s home draws with Falkirk.
Saturday February 1, 2020
The Penny Cars Stadium, Airdrie
Referee: David Dickinson
Assistants: Gary Hilland, Chris Rae
Issue 16 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 also has a look back at events from around this time in years gone by, and we recall the career of former Airdrie and Raith star Tommy Murray. Don't forget to pick up your copy!