December 22, 2022
Montrose vs Airdrieonians
Gabby McGill wants to gift the Diamonds faithful three points for Christmas - but knows that a tough match lies in store at Links Park.
Airdrie make the journey to Angus on Friday night for some festive football against the Gable Endies - a fixture which has delivered no shortage of drama in recent times.
McGill is back in contention for the Diamonds after a handful of appearances from the bench following an ankle injury, and the English striker is raring to go.
“When it first happened, thankfully it was never as bad as we thought it was.
“We’ve had bounce games in-house and every day we really put the work in. I’m feeling sharp, so hopefully I can come back and contribute to the team.”
The 22-year-old has certainly contributed some important goals in his season-and-a-half at the club - perhaps most notably an extra-time strike which turned out to be the winning goal in an epic 6-5 play-off semi-final aggregate victory against Montrose last season.
The match will live long in McGill’s memory.
“I was on the bench that game and I got dragged on after 20, which came as a surprise but everything worked out well in the end!
“We obviously gave our absolute everything to win that game - it’s certainly the best game I’ve ever played in.”
Games have been hard to come by in recent weeks for Airdrie. After a weekend off for the SPFL Trust Trophy card, the Excelsior pitch succumbed to the freezing conditions last Saturday as the match against Dunfermline Athletic was postponed.
McGill can’t wait to get back to the action.
“It’s crazy to think that it’s been well over two weeks since we’ve had a game now, and it definitely feels like it.
“Being in here every day is brilliant, but you play football to play games so we’re looking forward to getting back on the pitch.
“You look at the football that we’re playing, I think it’s exciting and when we get it right it’s brilliant to be a part of.”
The Diamonds will be looking to ‘get it right’ on Friday as they travel to Links Park to face Montrose for the third time this season.
Goals from Calum Gallagher and Lewis Jamieson weren’t enough to stop Airdrie slipping to a 4-2 defeat in Montrose in October, but less than a month later a Jamieson hat-trick inspired the Diamonds to revenge with a thumping 4-0 home win, defender Craig Watson grabbing the other goal.
Gabby is hoping for a repeat of that performance, but knows that Links Park is a tough place to get a result.
“Again, it seems like a while since we’ve played, but we’re on a decent run of form at the moment - getting a little bit of a run together and not losing games, which is really important.
“Everyone knows what it’s like up there. I’ve only played there a couple of times, but it’s an extremely hard place to go. Hopefully conditions will be semi-decent - and we’ll come away with the three points!
“It’s always nice to hear the Airdrie fans make themselves heard - which they always do, to be fair. It definitely gives the team a big boost, and hopefully we’ll play well for them, get three points for them, and it’ll be a good Christmas.”
Player-manager Rhys McCabe is looking forward to another thriller against Stewart Petrie’s side.
“Every game is different, but over the last three or four games that we’ve played them, they’re always entertaining.
“We know that their place is a tough place to go, having experienced that from last season going into this season.
“We’ve got to make sure that we go up there and we deliver a positive result.”
The Diamonds boss reported a clean bill of health for his squad for the first time in a number of weeks, with goalkeeper Josh Rae easing back towards full training ahead of the match.
Barry Cook takes charge of his second Airdrie game this season, having refereed last month’s 1-1 home draw with Peterhead.
Match tickets and streaming details are available via the link below.
Friday December 23, 2022
Links Park, Montrose
Paul O’Neill, Filippo Mazzoni