December 6, 2021
Montrose vs Airdrieonians
Luke Lyons was delighted to get 90 Scottish Cup minutes under his belt - and the defender can’t wait for the chance to face Montrose.
The Diamonds travel to Links Park on Tuesday evening for a cinch League 1 fixture which was moved from Saturday afternoon, with the Gable Endies playing their Scottish Cup replay which ultimately saw them exit the tournament at the hands of Kelty Hearts.
A week earlier, Airdrie had progressed to the fourth round with a 2-0 win at Stenhousemuir, and former Leeds United youth Lyons made his long-awaited comeback from injury.
“Yeah, it was good to be back for the first time in five months. It’s hard when everyone else is playing, I’d only been back for four weeks and it was a tough game.
“I had an idea I was going to be playing on the Thursday. That was the first time, and I just got ready as normal.”
20-year-old Lyons joined the club in July following a spell with Bradford PA, but picked up a bad injury in only his second Diamonds appearance.
“I dislocated my shoulder in the cup game against Queen’s Park in July. I ended up going in for surgery in the middle of August, then got Covid the week after.
“In my first week back here I was running as soon as I could, and when I got to the end of September it was just about strengthening it.
“It’s not ideal when your job is to train and play, but I just had to keep my head down and keep working. There was always a goal to get back fit and try to be fitter than I was before, and hopefully it’s worked.”
Despite having represented Scotland at Under-17 level, Leeds-born Lyons had spent the entirety of his fledgling career playing in England before getting the opportunity to move to the Penny Cars Stadium in the summer.
The 20-year-old explained his route to Airdrie, where he lives with fellow Yorkshireman Gabby McGill.
“I was at Leeds from a kid to first year pro. At about 18/19 I left and played in the Conference North for a bit. The season got cut in January, and I trained by myself for three or four months then came here on trial in June - and fortunately ended up signed.
“It’s my first time playing in Scotland - I’m getting used to the weather and stuff! It’s my first time living away from home - I think Gabby’s done it before, but we got to know each other quite quickly and it’s just normal now.”
Having come through last weekend’s Cup win unscathed - and registered a solid comeback performance, Luke is hoping to keep his place in the team for the trip to Angus.
“It’ll definitely be a tough game. As for me I just want to help the team as much as I can.
“Obviously we’re in a decent position. It was a poor result in the league last time, but we’re looking to bounce back.”
“It’s been so long that playing now, I’ve got to get minutes and get back used to it as quickly as I can. It’s not pre-season any more, we’re in the thick of it so it’s about kicking on.”
The Diamonds will certainly be aiming to banish memories of their League 1 opener against Montrose - goals from Terry Masson, Lewis Milne and Graham Webster handed Stewart Petrie’s side a 3-0 win at the Penny Cars Stadium in July.
Manager Ian Murray believes his side’s progress from that day is plain to see.
“We’re a different team now - we’ve got players full of confidence, we’ve got a different system, and we’re in a far healthier league position.
“Montrose are a very dangerous side, very solid. It’ll be a very, very tough game, but like I always say on the flipside we’ve got good players as well, and we’ll go up there to try and win.”
The Diamonds boss confirmed that defender Josh Kerr (calf) and striker Salim Kouider-Aïssa (knee) will continue to miss out, with more clarity on the extent of both injuries expected in the coming days.
Duncan Williams is the referee for Tuesday’s 7:45pm kick-off. Match tickets and streaming access are available via the links below. Supporters travelling to the match can also pay at the gate.
Tuesday December 7, 2021
Links Park, Montrose
Colin Drummond, Brian Christie