March 17, 2023
Airdrieonians vs Peterhead
Dean McMaster says patience is key when Airdrie face relegation-battlers Peterhead on Saturday, with the Diamonds aiming for back-to-back home wins.
The midfielder knows all about that particular virtue, having made his first start since December in last weekend’s match against Kelty Hearts - and was one of the side’s top performers in a resounding 6-1 win.
McMaster has remained focussed throughout, and was pleased to get his reward on Saturday.
“It’s obviously been good to get back on the pitch after a while just biding my time and working hard on the training pitch.
“I’ve had a few chats with the gaffer just to keep me on track and prove myself - that’s the main thing, doing well for the team.
“I’ve got my wee chance, and hopefully I’ve taken it and I can kick on from here.”
As for the match itself, Gabby McGill’s hat-trick, a Calum Gallagher wonderstrike, an own goal and Callum Smith’s determined finish ensured a bumper scoreline for the rampant Diamonds.
Kelty’s consolation came through an 85th-minute penalty conceded by McMaster, but the 19-year-old was delighted with the overall display.
“I thought it was a great performance. The first 15 minutes we started off slowly, and after that I thought we came right into the game. We played our style and I think we played them off the pitch a little.
“I was gutted with the penalty - the boys were saying to me ‘forget about it, we’ve won 6-1 and you’ve played great’.
“Obviously we’ve not had that clean sheet for a couple of weeks, so that little lapse of concentration was not the best considering we were 6-0 up.”
Airdrie now turn their attention to bottom side Peterhead, and although the Blue Toon have struggled for form, they have consistently made things difficult for the Diamonds this season.
Goals from Smith and Craig Watson gave the Diamonds a good 2-0 win on the opening day of the league season, but it took a late Lewis Jamieson goal to rescue a point in November’s return fixture after Jason Brown had given Peterhead the lead.
Patience proved important again as the sides met at Balmoor in January, Gallagher opening the scoring on 84 minutes before Smith and a Charlie Telfer penalty put some gloss on the scoreline.
McMaster says David Robertson’s side have shown how well-drilled they can be.
“They’re a good side, they’re good at defending and sitting in compact to stop you playing. They’re very well organised, so it’s all about us trying to break them down and keep the ball moving.
“The main focus is on us - not getting frustrated at all, keep doing what we do, and the chances will come.”
Player-manager Rhys McCabe believes it’s important that the Diamonds remain grounded after such an impressive win - or they could be in for a shock come Saturday.
“I’ll be stressing to the boys that I’ve no doubt about it - this will be arguably one of our toughest games of the season.”
“Peterhead are fighting for their life down at the bottom, so we know that it’s not going to be a comfortable game.
“It’s important that the lads enjoy their moment - to score six in the manner that we did is great - but that result is gone and it’s on to Saturday now.”
The Diamonds boss reported no fresh injury concerns, with Lewis McGregor returning to the squad after missing last weekend for family reasons, and McCabe himself showing no ill effects from a slight hamstring strain.
Referee Steven Kirkland’s only other Airdrie match this season was October’s 1-0 away defeat to Kelty Hearts.
Match tickets and streaming information are available using the link below.
Saturday March 18, 2023
Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie
Elliott Husband Powton, Willie Ferguson