April 19, 2021
Airdrieonians vs East Fife
Jack McKay is ready for a battle when East Fife come to Airdrie for a winner-takes-all tie as both sides aim for the top five ahead of the League One split.
A win for either side would guarantee them a top-half place, although a draw could see both sides in the top five depending on Montrose’s result.
Having enjoyed a loan spell with the Diamonds back in 2017, January signing McKay is happy to be back ahead of the big match.
“I’ve really enjoyed it so far, I’d say my experience has been easier this time because I already know the place!
“The boys here are great and welcomed me in straight away.”
Having featured as a striker in his first loan spell at the club, the 24-year-old has shown his versatility by operating in the right wing-back and midfield positions this time around.
McKay has adapted to his new positions between spells at the Penny Cars Stadium, having featured there at Cardiff City and current parent club Chesterfield.
“It’s been a good few years since I was here and my game has definitely changed a bit - in my time at other clubs I moved to a wider position and then a more defensive position.
“It’s very different to playing upfront, but I really enjoy this new role.”
As at previous clubs Doncaster Rovers, Leeds United and Cardiff, McKay has one very familiar face in the dressing room - twin brother Paul.
“I’m used to playing beside Paul, and it obviously helps that he’s here in terms of settling in.
“That’s the only difference from the other guys though - Paul and I try not to treat each other any differently to our team mates.”
Both McKays will be hoping for a positive result on Tuesday, with a win ensuring that the Diamonds have a shot at promotion.
Jack says preparations have been good.
“We’ve been working hard and we were lucky to get a rest over the weekend.
“It’s a cup final for us - there’s everything to play for so you can imagine it will be a good battle.”
While Airdrie had a free weekend due to Forfar Athletic’s Scottish Cup involvement, the Fifers were staking their claim for a top-half finish as they came from behind to beat Peterhead 2-1.
Darren Young’s side came out on top when the Diamonds visited Methil in December, Jack Hamilton grabbing both goals in a 2-0 home win.
Hamilton has since moved on, recalled by parent club Livingston before being loaned out to Arbroath, but East Fife have continued to pick up the results required to keep their challenge alive.
Speaking after last Tuesday’s win over Forfar, Diamonds boss Ian Murray said: “We’re going in on a great run, we have our fifth game and can try to extend that.
“The way we’ve scored a lot of late goals over the last four or five games shows that our fitness is there, our mentality is there, and we’re absolutely ready now.”
Airdrie hope to welcome midfielder Paul Paton back to the squad for Tuesday’s showdown, with Josh Kerr and Reece Murdoch still expected to be sidelined.
Referee Alan Newlands is the man in charge for the 7:45pm kick-off. His last Airdrie match was December’s 1-0 win at the Falkirk Stadium.
You can watch the match live using the link below, with DiamondsTV commentators Brian Smith and John O’Brien keeping viewers up to date with all the latest information from around the grounds.
Tuesday April 20, 2021
Penny Cars Stadium, Airdrie
Michael Banks, Barry Reid