February 24, 2023
Airdrieonians vs Falkirk
Ben Stanway was delighted to grab his first senior goal last weekend, and wants to continue in a similar vein when Falkirk visit the Excelsior on Saturday.
The midfielder joined the club on loan from Partick Thistle in January, and was given the nod to start in midfield as the Diamonds travelled to East End Park.
Stanway rewarded the decision by scoring Airdrie’s goal in the 1-1 draw, and was understandably pleased with the achievement.
“It was brilliant, especially at such a big stadium in a big game - Dunfermline are top of the league and it was obviously great that my family were there as well!
“Playing in a game like that, you forget about the goal and it’s not till after the game you realise how good it is.”
Having featured from the bench on three occasions, last weekend’s fixture was Stanway’s second start for Airdrie. The 18-year-old says he’s happy to play whatever role is required in a competitive League 1 campaign.
“I’ve enjoyed the challenge so far, that’s why I came here - to play - and I’m really enjoying it. It’s tough as well, there’s not really much difference between League 1 and the Championship.
“I’d never let my head go down. You can’t be selfish, you need to think about the team and what’s best for the team at that time. When I’m called upon I’ll be ready.”
Having faced the league leaders twice in consecutive matches, the Diamonds now take on second-placed Falkirk as both sides aim to cement a play-off position.
Airdrie were 4-0 winners the last time the sides met at the Excelsior, Gabby McGill and Salim Kouider-Aïssa adding to a Calum Gallagher double back in August.
The points were shared in the return fixture at The Falkirk Stadium in December, Kai Kennedy and Callum Smith trading goals in a 1-1 draw.
Stanway has a taste for top-of-the-table clashes after last week’s heroics, but warns of the quality that John McGlynn’s side possess.
“You want to play in these games, but every team is good in this league and they’re going to give us a good fight. We just need to be ready for every game.
“Falkirk are a good team, and we just need to do our stuff and hopefully we’ll beat them.
“Last year in the Challenge Cup I played against them with Thistle. They’re a really good side, they move the ball about well, which is something that we do as well. We’ll play football, they’ll play football - I’m sure it’ll be a really good game.”
And with two red cards in the Dunfermline double-header, Airdrie will need to keep their discipline as they search for a positive result.
Ben believes the side showed on Saturday that they’re capable of dealing with setbacks.
“I think I’ve been warned more than anyone not to do anything daft! The main thing is if anything does happen like that in a game, that we all stick together.
“Whether we’re winning the game or we’re drawing, we see the game out as a team.”
Manager Rhys McCabe has been impressed by Falkirk’s turnaround, but is relishing another chance for the Diamonds to shine at the Excelsior.
“Falkirk are drastically improved. I think John’s done a good job in terms of picking them up, because I think their confidence was shot a wee bit last season.
“They’ve recruited well and they’re playing a better style of football. Obviously results are changing on the pitch, which is a good thing for them.
“We know that we’ve hurt them in the past, we know where we can hurt them, and with a home tie on Saturday it’s going to be another exciting spectacle.”
The Diamonds boss this week secured Hibs goalkeeper Murray Johnson on an emergency loan as cover for the suspended Josh Rae. Callum Smith returns to the squad after a one-match ban.
Referee Greg Aitken is in charge of an Airdrie match for the first time this season.
Match tickets and DTVLive stream details are available using the link below.
Saturday February 25, 2023
Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie
Chris Rae, Scott Anderson