May 2, 2022
Montrose vs Airdrieonians
Callum Fordyce says Airdrie’s long unbeaten run can boost the Diamonds’ confidence ahead of a tricky away tie against Montrose in the promotion play-offs.
The club captain watched from the sidelines as a young Airdrie side maintained an unbeaten run dating back to December, beating a club record in the process.
Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Peterhead ensured the Diamonds have gone 20 league games unbeaten ahead of Tuesday’s Championship play-off semi-final first leg at Links Park.
With a number of players rested, Fordyce revelled in his role alongside assistant manager Scott Agnew, with boss Ian Murray serving a touchline ban.
The defender was full of praise for the side.
“It’s credit to the players that came in, they’ve been lacking minutes this season and a lot of them are very young.
“To keep that run going, the momentum’s still with us going into the play-offs, and it was good for the boys that have played a lot of minutes to get their legs rested.”
The Diamonds will be hoping to use that momentum to their advantage when they travel to Angus on Tuesday evening. Montrose have managed two wins over Airdrie already this season, and Fordyce acknowledges just how tricky an opponent the Gable Endies can be.
“Montrose, throughout my career and my time here, have given us tough games. It’s been a mixed bag of results for both teams, but one thing you always get with both teams is a lot of energy, workrate and commitment.
“It’s going to be an exciting game, I would say. Maybe a bit nervy to start with, but that’s just the occasion. It’s going to be a good spectacle.”
Airdrie’s second-place finish gives them home advantage in Saturday’s second leg, meaning the Diamonds must first travel to a stadium where Stewart Petrie’s side have an impressive record.
The teams drew 2-2 at Links Park less than a month ago, with Airdrie twice coming from behind before missing a penalty. Fordyce remains confident that the Diamonds are capable of a positive result.
“I think anybody that has played Montrose up there at any level knows how tough a place it is to go and get a result there.
“They’ve got a good home record so it’s going to be a tough game, but we’re firmly confident that we’ve got enough in this squad that we can do the job up there.”
With the regular season drawing to a close on Saturday before the excitement of the promotion play-offs, Callum took the time to praise the backing given by the Airdrie support over the course of the campaign.
“You look at it this year especially, the togetherness the fans have got with the players and the management staff is really appreciated.
“At times they can give you that wee extra boost - it makes a difference to players.”
Manager Ian Murray also expects a tense affair at Links Park.
“Every time we’ve played Montrose, including the 4-1 game here, they’ve been very difficult games. They’re a very well drilled, well organised, structured team with the ball and without the ball.
“Play-off games are even more intense, even higher tempo. The last game up there was very end to end, probably too much so for both teams’ liking! We want to see a good game, but I’m not sure it’ll be so end to end.”
The Diamonds boss has no new injury worries ahead of the tie, with Craig Watson resuming full training. Luke Lyons and Salim Kouider-Aïssa remain sidelined.
Graham Grainger returns as referee, having officiated last month’s 2-2 draw between the sides. The whistler was also in charge of both of Airdrie’s 3-0 home wins over East Fife earlier in the season, and the 0-0 Premier Sports Cup draw with Queen’s Park in July.
Match tickets and livestream access are available using the links below. Fans are reminded that there will be no cash gate for away supporters, and tickets must be purchased online in advance.
Tuesday May 3, 2022
Links Park, Montrose
Andy Milne, Chris Rae