September 17, 2021
Airdrieonians vs East Fife
Craig Watson says Airdrie’s team spirit can propel them to a second successive home win on Saturday as the Diamonds welcome East Fife to the Penny Cars Stadium.
Tuesday’s 2-1 victory over Alloa Athletic gave Ian Murray’s side their first home league win of the season, with Saturday’s fixture against the Fifers offering an immediate opportunity to build on the result.
Defender Watson was pleased to get the three points.
“It was good, we’re just happy to get over the line. We were delighted with the clean sheet at the weekend though obviously it was a draw.
“Again we were solid defensively, so it was disappointing to concede but it was good that we didn’t crumble. Everyone came together and the fans got behind us towards the end of the game, so it was good.”
Watson has seen a change of position in recent weeks, impressing as an attacking full-back against Queen’s Park and Alloa. Following the recent departure of Sam Wardrop, the 26-year-old will be hoping to make the position his own - and a wonderful assist for Airdrie’s first goal on Tuesday won’t have done his chances any harm.
“Personally I like right-back a lot more, I was always an attacking player through my youth and in my early days at first-team.
“It’s good getting out and having a bit more freedom, I love to get to the bye-line and cut balls back. Hopefully the more I play this position, the more balls I can provide for Gal and Sal… and everyone else who rhymes!”
With the squad coming through a recent Covid outbreak and beginning to get numbers back, Watson insists that hard work and togetherness have been the key to the Diamonds’ four-match unbeaten run.
“Pre-season has pretty much not ended, we’ve been getting worked hard, especially with the recent spate of injuries and illness.
“There’s a right good team bond and a good changing room. Hopefully we can kick on on Saturday and get another three points in the bag.”
That would mean victory over East Fife, the club that Craig left to join Airdrie in the summer.
He has fond memories of his time at Bayview, and knows that his old team will provide a stern test at the weekend.
“We always seemed to do really well until the end of the season then just could never get that wee final push. There’s been a bit of a turnaround, but they’ve still got a spine of a team who have been there for five, six, seven years.
“They’ll be a right tough team - I know the way Darren Young will organise them, they’ll be set out compact but at the same time they’ll be positive and they’ll be looking to score.”
Manager Ian Murray wants his side to continue building momentum.
“After a good win in midweek, we’re looking to keep improving ourselves.
“East Fife will give us another tough game, it’s always a very close match when we play them, but we’re looking to build on Tuesday’s win with another three points.”
The Diamonds boss welcomes striker Callum Smith back to the squad, with defender Josh Kerr also nearing a return.
Gabby McGill is sidelined after limping out of Tuesday’s match - the forward faces a scan before the match but it is hoped that his hamstring strain is not as serious as first thought.
Referee Graham Grainger takes charge of his second Airdrie match this season, having previously officiated July’s 0-0 draw with Queen’s Park at Firhill.
Tickets are available using the link below, and the match will also be streamed on our DTVLive platform for those who can’t make it along.
Saturday September 18, 2021
Penny Cars Stadium, Airdrie
Graham McNeillie, Chris Newman