January 6, 2023
Peterhead vs Airdrieonians
Calum Gallagher says Airdrie have shown their ability to bounce back this season, and the Diamonds will be aiming to do just that against Peterhead on Saturday.
For the season time this season, FC Edinburgh were responsible for bringing an impressive unbeaten run to an end as the high-flying capital side came from two down to win 5-3 at the Excelsior on Monday.
Striker Gallagher netted his ninth goal of the season as Airdrie looked to be well in control, but Alan Maybury’s side staged an unlikely comeback to continue their winning streak against the Diamonds.
Gallagher was at a loss to explain the capitulation.
“It was possibly our best 25-30 minutes of football of the season, which probably shows the amount of work we were putting in over the Christmas break, and it’s difficult to pinpoint where it went wrong.
“It’s something that’s happening less and less frequently throughout the season, and hopefully we can return to form really quickly.
“When we do play like that first 30 minutes - if we focus on that and build on that, I don’t think it’s unfair to say that there’s not a team in this league that can deal with that.”
With 47 goals in 126 appearance since signing from Dumbarton in 2019, Gallagher has been a consistent name on the scoresheet, although by his own admission his best form tends to come in the latter months of the season.
A tally of nine of 19 league games is a stronger-than-average start for the striker, who is looking forward to continuing in the same vein.
“My target was to get ten by the turn of the year - I’m not quite there, but it’s a good return. Last year I was maybe only on five or six and turned that into 15 or 16 when we finished.
“Historically I’ve done better in the warmer months, so hopefully we can see that again this year and I’ll maybe hit my highest finish yet!”
The Diamonds vice-captain will be hoping to find the net again this weekend as Airdrie make the long journey north to take on Peterhead at Balmoor.
The Blue Toon have undergone a major change since the last meeting - a 1-1 draw at the Excelsior in November - with former Rangers star David Robertson replacing long-serving boss Jim McInally in the dug-out.
Gallagher says the new manager won’t change Peterhead’s impressive work ethic, and knows that Airdrie will have to be back to their best to get a result.
“Peterhead have always been a really difficult outfit for us - they’re hard to break down, they’re well drilled, and they work incredibly hard. When you show up on a Saturday morning before the game, you know you’re in for a real battle.
“It’s different going up there with the grass park, the weather and the time of year to think about as well. We’re at the point where we’ve got a style of play that we believe in and we trust, and it’s just having the bravery to go and do that on the day.”
And Calum insists there will be no post-new-year hangover as the Diamonds look to bounce back from Monday’s disappointment.
“The mood in the camp has been great this week, and the response in training has been excellent. The boys have been very energetic.
“We’re all bitterly disappointed, it’s a really upsetting way to end the festive period - especially after we’d done so well at Montrose.
“It’s all about the response in football, and typically we do have that resilience to go again - and we’ll look to do that on Saturday.”
Player-manager Rhys McCabe know what to expect from a Peterhead side who may be bottom of the table, but are capable of causing any team problems.
“Going up there at this time of year, you can almost guarantee that it’s not going to be the most ideal conditions. As we know, the last game here proved a really difficult game, so we’re under no illusions going up there.
“We need to make sure that we’ve got the sleeves rolled up and we’re ready to go and battle for three points.”
Right-backs Cammy Ballantyne and Jay Riley will miss out for the Diamonds, with the former awaiting further assessment after limping out of Monday’s clash, while debutant Riley was the unfortunate recipient of two yellow cards on his debut.
Referee Lloyd Wilson’s last Airdrie fixture was November’s Scottish Cup defeat at Dundee. The whistler was also in charge of the 3-0 win at Cowdenbeath in July and August’s 4-0 home victory against Falkirk.
Match ticket information can be found using the link below.
Saturday January 7, 2023
Balmoor Stadium, Peterhead
Alastair Mather, Paul McAvinue