September 2, 2021
Airdrieonians vs Queen’s Park
Callum Smith says progression in any competition is a boost as the Diamonds prepare to enter the SPFL Trust Trophy with a second-round tie against Queen’s Park.
Striker Smith, who rejoined the club just under a month ago after a spell with Hamilton Academical, had more reasons to celebrate recently as he and partner Millie became parents.
The 21-year-old is delighted with the arrival of baby Ollie, and says it hasn’t had too much effect on his footballing life.
“I’ve had a few sleepless night, but nothing too bad - I think I’ve handled it pretty well!
“Training at night on Tuesdays and Thursdays means I can catch up on my sleep during the day. My missus is a great help too! We’re over the moon with him, so it’s been really good.”
Following time on loan with the Diamonds from Dunfermline Athletic in season 2019/20, Smith had a taste of the top-flight after moving across Lanarkshire to join Hamilton.
Having left the New Douglas Park club a few weeks into the season, he is now enjoying life back at the Penny Cars Stadium.
“It didn’t take me long to settle in, obviously I’d been here before and I knew a few of the boys. I’ve worked under the manager as well so I kinda came back in flying right away.
“I’ve played a few games now, and I’m feeling comfortable in the team. We’ve been playing very well, although some of the results haven’t gone our way.”
Following a draw at Dumbarton and home defeat to Falkirk in Smith’s first two games, the writing looked to be on the wall when the Airdrie squad was decimated by injury and illness ahead of a trip to Peterhead two weeks ago.
Continuing the positive play which had left them feeling hard done by in previous weeks, the Diamonds finally got their just rewards with a 3-2 win at Balmoor.
Smith was delighted to get a first league win of the season on the board.
“The circumstances were difficult, but the boys handled it very well. Having key players out didn’t seem to affect us at all. We went 3-0 up and were cruising in the game - it probably could, and should, have been more.
“They got their two late goals which was a bit sloppy on our behalf, but we came away with the three points and that’s the main thing at the end of the day.”
With the knock-on effect of close contacts having to self-isolate last week, the squad found themselves with a free weekend as the scheduled match against Alloa Athletic was postponed.
The Diamonds get back to action on Friday evening with an SPFL Trust Trophy fixture at home to Queen’s Park, and Callum expects a tough tie against the current league leaders.
“I’m expecting a good game, Queen’s Park have started the season well.
“Although it’s a different competition, we want to do well in every game we play. Progressing in any competition always helps with confidence, so it would be nice to get a wee run in the cup.”
Manager Ian Murray can’t wait to get back in the dugout.
“It’s good to be back and I’m looking forward to the game.
“Queen’s Park have started very well and will be looking to continue that, but we go into it on the back of a good win at Peterhead.
“The players are delighted to be back.”
The Diamonds boss confirmed that late assessments will take place for a number of players, but hopes to have a strong squad to choose from ahead of the second round tie.
Grant Irvine referees the Penny Cars Stadium meeting, which kicks off at 7:45pm.
Tickets are available from the link below, and the match will be streamed live on our DiamondsTV platform for those who are unable to attend.
Friday September 3, 2021
Penny Cars Stadium, Airdrie
Graeme Stewart, Steven McKay