July 16, 2021
Queen’s Park vs Airdrieonians
Rico Quitongo believes an exciting tie lies ahead when the Diamonds visit Queen’s Park at their temporary Firhill home in Airdrie’s second Premier Sport Cup Group F match.
Summer signing Quitongo believes he and his new team-mates can build on the late point they secured in the season opener against Annan Athletic.
Diamonds substitute Matthew McDonald grabbed the headlines with a 90th-minute equaliser after the Galabankies had taken a second-half lead, but Peter Murphy’s side went on to claim the bonus point with a shoot-out win.
Quitongo claims it’s early days for an Airdrie squad which received a massive overhaul during the close season.
“I thought we were a bit disappointing. We started quite well, to be fair, but in the second half I think we just panicked and got caught on a few counters.
“We showed resilience to come back and get a late goal, but we need to do better.”
Quitongo was one of eight starters making a competitive debut for the Diamonds, and the 22-year-old has set demanding standards for his performances during his time at the club.
“I always like to look at what I could do better, so I thought I could get more crosses in and get on the ball more.
“There wasn’t really a lot coming down my side, but as long as I can get more offensive we can take it from there.”
With a limited crowd permitted at the Penny Cars Stadium for the match, the new-look Diamonds got to play their season opener in front of home fans.
Quitongo was delighted with their backing.
“It was brilliant. We had some in at Dumbarton for the relegation play-off, but having the Airdrie fans in shouting at me and encouraging me was brilliant.
“I know we lost, but they were great with me so here’s to many more!”
Airdrie’s attention now turns to Saturday’s match against League One new boys Queen’s Park, and the Diamonds have an immediate chance to get back in the Group F running.
Rico is looking forward to an intriguing match-up at Firhill - despite the disappointment of being denied an early meeting with his brother, Spiders striker Jai, who has been ruled out through injury.
“I’m gutted I’m not playing against him, I think I’d have him in my back pocket!
“We played together at Dumbarton for a few games before Covid hit, and that was a bit weird. Playing against him will be even better, trying to get one up on each other.
“It’ll be a great game, Queen’s Park have signed really well and like us, they’ve got players who should be at a higher level.”
Manager Ian Murray says that Laurie Ellis’s side will be buoyed by their opening day victory over Queen of the South.
“Queen’s Park will be delighted with their opening result against a team from a higher league, so it will be a very difficult game for us on Saturday.
“I said it more than once last season, we’re capable of beating anyone on our day and Saturday is no different.”
Defender Josh Kerr and midfielder Adam Frizzell weren’t risked against Annan Athletic after recent knocks, and the Diamonds boss confirmed that both will face late checks ahead of the trip to Firhill, as will midfielder Dylan Easton who was substituted after picking up a back injury on his Diamonds debut.
A limited number of tickets are available to Airdrie supporters. They can be purchased through Queen’s Park’s website using the link below. Please read the terms and conditions carefully before purchasing.
Saturday July 17, 2021
Firhill Stadium, Glasgow
Craig Ferguson, Joel Kennedy