May 10, 2021
Airdrieonians vs Cove Rangers
Kyle Connell says Airdrie’s play-off final destiny is in their own hands as the Diamonds face Cove Rangers with the scores level.
An evenly-matched first leg at Balmoral Stadium ended in a 1-1 draw on Saturday, and the sides meet again at the Penny Cars Stadium on Tuesday evening for a one-off showdown to face Montrose or Morton in the final.
Calum Gallagher’s deflected cross skewed into the net to give Airdrie a second-half lead before former Diamond Leighton McIntosh grabbed a close-range equaliser.
Having weathered a late push by Paul Hartley’s side, striker Connell went close with a long-range effort in the final minute.
The on-loan hitman felt the Diamonds were below their recent performance levels.
“It was a bang average game, and it’s fair to say we didn’t play to our full potential.
“A draw is better than a defeat, but we had chances to win the game too. Hopefully on Tuesday we’ll be able to take those chances.”
With the Diamonds handed home advantage by virtue of finishing above Cove Rangers in the League One table, Connell would have loved to have the Airdrie fans in to cheer the side on.
“Playing at home is always an advantage, and if we’d been able to have fans in it would have given us more incentive to win our biggest game of the season.
“Hopefully we can get the result we want on Tuesday and, all being well, we can welcome some fans in for the final.”
Connell and his team-mates will be hopeful of another difference in the second leg - the weather.
With much of Saturday’s match played in driving wind and rain, Connell has one eye on the forecast ahead of Tuesday’s match.
“The conditions weren’t the best, to be honest!
“Hopefully the weather will be on our side this time, but no matter the conditions we will still give it everything we have to get the win.”
With the result in the balance and a shot at promotion at stake, the pressure is on both sets of players to deliver. Kyle insists that Airdrie must focus on their own performance despite their respect for their opponents’ achievements.
“Cove are definitely a very decent side - they didn’t get into a play-off position out of luck.
“We just have to worry about ourselves, and about making the game our own. It’s a 90-minute match where the winner takes all, so that’s what we’re focused on.”
Manager Ian Murray says his side’s objective remains the same as every other match.
“Of course it’s another really hard game, it’s finely balanced so it’s a great chance.
“We go into it with confidence as always, and ready to get to the final.”
Midfielder Euan O’Reilly will face a late check, while defenders Harlain Mbayo and Joshua Burke remain sidelined.
Colin Steven is the referee for the 7:45pm kick-off, which you can watch live using the link below.
Tuesday May 11, 2021
Penny Cars Stadium, Airdrie
Andy Milne, Paul O’Neill