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March 10, 2023

Airdrieonians vs Kelty Hearts

Lachie Byrd says the Diamonds face a different challenge as they look to get back to winning ways against Kelty Hearts this weekend.

Having faced all of League 1’s full-time teams in recent weeks, a disappointing return culminated in defeat at Queen of the South last Saturday.

Byrd played in the centre of defence, and while the big Australian was frustrated with the result, he was pleased to get his first Airdrie start since joining from Dandenong Thunder in January.

“For me it was good to get in the starting XI, play my first full 90 over here and get back in the swing of things.

“Obviously it was a disappointing result, but I think there’s definitely a lot to take from it into the nine games remaining. The next three are our focus, and this week we’ve got a big opportunity to start getting a run of results.”

Goals from Euan East, Lewis Gibson and Kieran McKechnie were enough to ensure the points remained in Dumfries despite a Stephen Hendrie own goal and Calum Gallagher’s 15th of the season.

Despite the disappointing result, Byrd hopes that his fledgling Diamonds career will go from strength to strength.

“I’ve come over here to play, I’ve not come to just train and be idle on the bench, I’m here to challenge and hopefully help the team out as best as I can.

“Hopefully it’s the first of many, it’s just about getting on the field and getting results.”

The 20-year-old’s first involvement with the squad was as an unused substitute the last time Airdrie faced Kelty.

The points were shared on that cold and wet January afternoon, Adam Frizzell and Jamie Barjonas trading goals in a 1-1 draw, but the weather certainly made an impression on Byrd.

“I’ve got English blood in me, so it’s not like I’m coming from Australia and not having any experience with it!

“Coming from an Australian summer is certainly a big difference, but once you’re on the pitch it’s 90 minutes and it doesn’t matter - rain, shine, snow, whatever - it’s a game of football.”

As the New Central Park side prepare to visit the Excelsior to kick off the final quarter of league fixtures, Airdrie are better off by seven points and three league placings - but there has been little to separate the sides in their previous meetings.

When the pair played their first ever competitive fixture in October, Alfredo Agyeman’s late winner secured the points for John Potter’s men. The score was reversed in Airdrie a month later, Calum Gallagher the Diamonds scorer.

Following the January draw, Airdrie are aiming to get the upper hand overall with a win on Saturday, and Lachie believes a positive result could kick off a winning run for the Diamonds.

“This league is very competitive - we’ve played Dunfermline and Falkirk and now to Kelty, it’s a different sort of game. It’s 90 minutes that we’ve got to put on a performance, and we need it.

“Training has started well this week, we’ll hopefully take it into the game and it’s just about getting a run of results now.”

Player-manager Rhys McCabe is also hopeful of a turnaround as the final quarter begins. The Diamonds boss is familiar with Kelty’s manager, having played under him at Dunfermline Athletic earlier in his career.

“Kelty are exactly what you’d expect a John Potter team to be like, well-organised, tight and they make it difficult for you. It’s never an easy game.

“We’ve obviously got to try and rectify it this week, get the confidence up, and hopefully come in to a home fixture and get the three points.”

While midfielder Ben Stanway returned to full training this week after missing the Queen of the South tie with a knee injury, McCabe himself is rated doubtful for Saturday’s match after straining a hamstring at Palmerston.

Matthew McDermid referees his third Airdrieonians match this season, having officiated August’s 1-1 draw at Queen of the South and the 1-0 away win over Clyde in November.

Match tickets and streaming details are available using the link below.


Saturday March 11, 2023




Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie



Matthew MacDermid


Graham McNeillie, Steven Wilson

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