May 3, 2021
Airdrieonians vs Falkirk
Dale Carrick expects a final day thriller at the Penny Cars Stadium as the Diamonds aim to finish the season in second place and Falkirk battle to secure a place in the play-offs.
Airdrie’s impressive 2-0 away win over Cove on Saturday guaranteed a coveted play-off spot for the Diamonds - along with the prospect of finishing as runners-up if they can take three points against the Bairns.
An Airdrie win coupled with a Montrose victory over champions Partick Thistle would see Falkirk end the season in fifth place, so forward Carrick knows an exciting night awaits watching supporters.
First and foremost, the frontman is delighted that Airdrie have secured a shot at promotion.
“The play-offs were the minimum objective set at the start of the season and it feels good to have it confirmed. Since I joined the club this is the first time we’ve made it, so I’m looking forward to it.
“With the play-offs anything can happen, which gives it the added excitement, buzz, butterflies - whatever you want to call it. It will come down to how we deal with the pressure individually and collectively in order to get a result.”
A hard earned win against current second-placed side Cove made sure of a top-four finish for Airdrie, with Calum Gallagher and Dean Ritchie grabbing the goals.
Carrick was thrilled to get the points against a tough opponent.
“What a result for us - for me, Cove have been the best footballing side we’ve played against this season. Their midfield rotate to create space for each other and their strikers have the movement to create chances in and around the box.
“We knew in the first half Cove would have a lot of the ball but we stuck to our shape, and in the second half we started well and got an early goal. Thomas showed what he can do and Gal scored his two-yard special!
“With Cove having to go more direct to push for an equaliser, our fitness has allowed us to go late in games to score important goals, thus allowing up Deano to pop up. I’m delighted that he has got his first senior goal - but I’m not sure what was better, the goal or the mad celebration!”
A play-off place secured with a game to spare, the Diamonds’ top scorer insists there’s no chance of the Diamonds easing off the pedal in their final fixture.
“As a squad we want to finish as high as we possibly we can and if we get second in the league that would be a great achievement.
“If you reflect back three to four weeks ago, we were way down the table and that shows the mental toughness and physical fitness we have as a group, and it’s testament to the run we’re having.”
While Airdrie have been in their best form of the season, tomorrow’s opponents have found life difficult of late. Replacing co-managers Lee Miller and David McCracken with Gary Holt hasn’t helped to stop the slide which has seen the Westfield side move from the top of the table to fourth place.
A pair of negative results would see Falkirk remain in League One for a third season, but their fate is still in their own hands as a point would secure the play-off slot regardless of the outcome at Links Park.
Dale expects Falkirk to go all out in search of that vital result, but believes that hard work can be key to a second-place finish for Airdrie.
“For me tomorrow’s game will take care of itself as long as we apply ourselves like we have done for the last couple of weeks.
“As soon as the first whistle goes I fully expect Falkirk to chuck the kitchen sink at us to get a result to secure their position in the play-offs. It may become like a tennis match at times but we will try to control the tempo of the game, so it should make for a feisty watch!”
Manager Ian Murray wants his side to keep up their momentum.
“It’s the last game of the regular season, and we want to finish on a high.
“Our home form has been excellent recently, so we’ll certainly look to continue that tomorrow ahead of the play-offs.”
The manager confirmed that defenders Joshua Burke and Harlain Mbayo will miss out, with midfielder Euan O’Reilly facing a late fitness check.
Scott Lambie referees.
You can watch the match live using the link below.
Tuesday May 4, 2021
Penny Cars Stadium, Airdrie
Andrew McWilliam, George King