December 29, 2021
Airdrieonians vs Queen’s Park
Callum Smith believes Airdrie can use their games in hand to gain ground on the league leaders - starting with tonight’s home match against Queen’s Park.
The Diamonds welcome Laurie Ellis’s side to the Penny Cars Stadium as part of a busy festive schedule after the original tie was postponed due to Covid.
Smith will be looking to add to his tally after netting an early opener against Alloa Athletic at the weekend, a goal which the striker was delighted with.
“It was a good goal, to be fair the three goals were very good. Obviously to get a goal that early in the game, it sets you up very well and I feel that kinda kicked us on for the rest of the game.
“Kerr’s done brilliant, took the ball down in midfield and played a great through ball and I was just onside. It was good for me, and good to get another goal!
“We’ve got a brilliant team this year to be fair, very good. You’re always confident as a striker if I keep making those runs they’re going to find me when you’ve got that quality.”
This season of course marks Smith’s second spell at Airdrie, having joined on loan from Dunfermline Athletic in 2019-20.
A spell at Hamilton Academical followed, but after Accies’ relegation to the Championship the 22-year-old returned to the Penny Cars Stadium and is enjoying himself so far…
“It’s been a good start for myself, I feel. I’ve always been wanting to add more goals to my game and this season the goals have been coming which is a positive for me.
“In my eyes I just need to keep going, keep getting the goals and assists and that’ll do me!”
Those goals don’t come much earlier than the Boxing Day opener against Alloa Athletic - the second minute strike set the Diamonds up for an impressive 3-1 win and a move up the cinch League 1 table.
Another win tonight would put Airdrie within three points of second-placed Montrose with the Diamonds having a game in hand. Smith wants to keep the momentum up.
“It was obviously a great result at the weekend but we need to keep that going now, we can’t let ourselves down.
“It’s going to be a hard game - but every game’s a hard game in this league, no team is an easy game.
“It’s always a tight game against Queen’s Park, they’re hard to beat and we know that. We’ve definitely got to be on top form if we want a result. I think we’ve got to keep the ball well and break at pace - like we’ve been doing, to be fair - so if we just keep doing what we’re doing then we’ll stand ourselves in good stead.”
Knowing that victory tonight would mean the Diamonds finish 2021 eight points off the summit with a game in hand, Callum believes there are plenty of twists and turns to come in the League 1 title race.
“It’s just coming up for January, so there’s plenty of time to go. We’ve got the two games in hand which helps a lot - it looks like we’re a long way off, but we’re really not when you actually look at things.
“If we win those two games we’re five points behind and we’ve still got Cove to play twice, so that’s always in our heads. We’re not too far away, and if we win the next two games then you never know.”
Manager Ian Murray has faced the Spiders three times this season, with each occasion ending in a draw after 90 minutes.
The Diamonds boss says all the signs point to another close match.
“The three games we’ve played have had very fine margins - a penalty miss for us in the League Cup with five minutes to go, and then a penalty goal for them in the SPFL Trophy and 0-0 at Firhill in the league.
“We’re two very evenly-match sides with good footballers, but we’re at home and we want to look like we’re the home team and start the game well.
“We know we have to play to a high standard, but that’s no different from any other game in the league.”
Referee Chris Fordyce has already taken charge of one match at the Penny Cars Stadium this season, September’s 2-1 win over Alloa Athletic.
Tickets for the reduced-capacity match are sold out - all Airdrie season tickets and tickets purchased for the original tie are valid for this fixture.
For those unable to attend, live stream access can be purchased using the link below.
Wednesday December 29, 2021
Penny Cars Stadium, Airdrie
Gordon Crawford, Jordan Cousland