November 11, 2022
Airdrieonians vs Peterhead
Cammy Ballantyne has friends in the Peterhead squad, but the Diamonds defender insists there’s no room for sentiment as Airdrie look to extend their winning run on Saturday.
The Aberdeenshire side visit the Excelsior Stadium this weekend having been rooted to the bottom of the cinch League 1 table for the last ten weeks, while the Diamonds have bounced back from their own rough patch with back-to-back wins.
After a slick performance in the 4-0 home win over Montrose, Rhys McCabe’s men managed a more workmanlike victory against Clyde at Hamilton’s ZLX Stadium last week.
While the points are welcome under any circumstances, defender Ballantyne admits that it wasn’t a game for the purists.
“It wasn’t one you’ll want to go back and watch! In the end, it’s a result. You get the 1-0 win, you get out of there, and you talk about the performance another time.
“You want to win as many games as you can, obviously - as soon as you get one, you get two, you get three, you want to just keep that momentum.
“It’s huge, especially in a league where it’s so tight and there’s only ten teams. As soon as you put four or five wins together you shoot right up the league straight away."
Airdrie have only lost once at home this season, counting 4-0 victories over Falkirk and Montrose alongside a 2-0 win against Premiership side St Mirren among their impressive Excelsior results.
Ballantyne stresses the importance of maintaining that record.
“It’s one of those leagues where you want to win every game at home, because it’s a tough league - everyone’s playing at a high level.
“You want to try to make your home stadium a fortress, so we just need to keep on winning and hopefully pleasing the crowd as well.”
A crowd-pleasing performance and a positive result will be the aim on Saturday as Jim McInally’s Peterhead travel south.
Airdrie’s league campaign opened with a meeting between the sides at Balmoor, with Callum Smith and Craig Watson on the scoresheet as the Diamonds got up and running with a 2-0 win.
The Blue Toon have struggled for points since then, but Ballantyne believes they have been unlucky on a few occasions.
“You can look at the table, but it only tells you so much. I know a few boys that play with Peterhead and they are in games - you look at the scores and it’s just kinda the break of the ball either way, similar to what we went through.
“We just can’t feel sorry for them on Saturday, we want to get the win.”
And after netting on his Diamonds debut in a 3-0 Premier Sports Cup win over Cowdenbeath, Cammy is keen to get back among the goals.
“I’ve been saying that to the boys, it’s a running joke just now that I just can’t seem to score - I keep getting it in the box without scoring, so hopefully this weekend is the one that I get the goal!”
Manager Rhys McCabe agrees that home advantage can play a part as his side look to make it three wins on the bounce.
“We’re confident going into every game, especially at home having the surface for the style of football that we want to play.
“When we do things right and everything clicks, we can be a really good outfit.
“It’s important that we focus on ourselves and what we need to do, and we’ll be doing that going into Saturday.”
Things are looking up on the injury front for the Diamonds boss, with goalkeeper Josh Rae, midfielder Adam Frizzell and striker Gabby McGill all making steady progress as they work towards a comeback.
Referee Barry Cook is in charge of his first Airdrie game this season. Match tickets and streaming details are available using the link below.
Saturday November 12, 2022
Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie
Gordon Crawford, George King