September 24, 2021
Cove Rangers vs Airdrieonians
Salim Kouider-Aïssa wants more of the same from Airdrie as the Diamonds look to continue their good form in this weekend’s trip to Cove Rangers.
With ten points from a possible 12 since a Covid outbreak caused disruption to Ian Murray’s plans, the side are back challenging at the right end of the table after home wins against Alloa Athletic and East Fife last week.
Striker Kouider-Aïssa has had a stop-start beginning to life at the club, joining from Livingston two days before the season kicked off then missing matches through injury and illness.
The 25-year-old played 89 minutes of the 3-0 win over East Fife, and says he’s ready for more.
“I’m feeling good. I wouldn’t say I had a slow start because I had a pre-season before coming, but after coming in I had a wee niggle and then I came back from that then got hit with Covid.
“I just need to get on with it, get the head down and get going again.”
With goals from Calum Gallagher (2) and Scott McGill securing a comfortable victory on Saturday, Kouider-Aïssa was pleased with the Diamonds’ performance.
“It felt good - it was a difficult game until we scored the goals, and then we settled down.
“I thought the boys played well from the start, and them going down to ten men maybe helped us, but I thought we kept our heads down - normally it can go flat but we kept pushing and got a couple more goals.”
A trip to the north-east follows this weekend with Airdrie facing another intriguing match-up against Cove Rangers.
A win apiece and a draw in the league last season suggested there was little between the sides, with two draws following in the promotion play-off semi-final before the Diamonds eventually triumphed with a dramatic extra-time winner.
Kouider-Aïssa expects a difficult encounter - just like every other week.
“I think we should be expecting a tough match in every game in the league, you can see how tight it is now. If we go up there and put in a good performance we’re always in with a chance of winning the game.
“They’re obviously going to fancy themselves up there, but we’ll be going up there to build on our performances and we’ll be looking to grab three points, as we will in every game this season.”
With the sides level on points, a win for either side could prove to be a big result even at this early stage of the season, and Salim believes he and his team-mates are heading in the right direction.
“We’ve got ourselves back amongst it. It’s good to get a run of games and good form at the start, because it gives you a big push at the end of the season.
“We’re confident in the squad that we’re definitely good enough to be up there and hopefully go one better than last season. It’s going to be tough, because I feel that in the league everybody can beat anybody, so we need to be on our game every week.”
Ian Murray knows exactly how tight matches between these sides can be, but the Diamonds boss is pleased to be going into the match with a run of momentum.
“It’s a tough game, they’re a good side. They were a really good side last season.
“Sometimes the second season is harder, but they’ve recruited really well - good experience, good footballers, good management team, it’s a very hard place to go.
“It’s a game that we relish and we go into it on good form.”
Both Josh Kerr and Callum Smith are available for selection after being withdrawn with cramp towards the end of last Saturday’s match, while Rhys McCabe and Gabby McGill are unlikely to feature. Luke Lyons is expected to resume full training next week following shoulder surgery.
Referee Peter Stuart takes charge of his first Airdrie match of the season.
Supporters attending the match at Balmoral Stadium are advised to buy tickets in advance using the link below to avoid queues on the day.
Saturday September 25, 2021
Balmoral Stadium, Aberdeen
Alastair Mather, David McKniff