April 21, 2023
Airdrieonians vs Dunfermline Athletic
Adam Frizzell believes Airdrie are capable of securing the point they need to confirm their involvement in the promotion play-offs when cinch League 1 champions Dunfermline Athletic visit on Saturday.
The Fife side clinched the trophy last weekend with a bruising 5-0 win against Queen of the South, but Airdrie’s draw in Falkirk meant the Diamonds edged closer to a top-four finish.
Midfielder Frizzell thinks Airdrie’s free-flowing style can see them over the line.
“I think, especially towards the end, it’s been a positive season.
“It’s the gaffer and Dycey’s first one and I think you can see the identity - we’ve probably played some of the best football in the country when we’ve clicked.
“I think we really do have a right chance this year. It’s just about securing it on Saturday, and then anything can happen.”
The play-off position would have been secured at The Falkirk Stadium but for an 89th-minute equaliser. Kai Kennedy had given the home side a first-half lead, but Calum Gallagher’s double looked like it had won the match for the Diamonds before Rumarn Burrell’s late strike.
Frizzell was impressed with Airdrie’s turnaround after going behind.
“Once we went and imposed ourself on the game, we gave them a lot of problems. We were good second half, but we obviously switched off in the last five minutes.
“It was frustrating - as much as it’s been a positive season, we look back and we probably could be higher than we are. If we go and secure promotion it’s all by the bye.”
While an impressive win for the Pars was enough to see them crowned champions, Frizzell believes there has been little to separate the sides in their previous encounters.
The 25-year-old was on the scoresheet at East End Park in August, showing great technique to grab the equaliser after Nikolay Todorov had given James McPake’s side the lead.
A crazy match at the Excelsior in February saw the Diamonds take a 3-0 lead through Gabby McGill, Calum Gallagher, and an incorrectly-awarded own goal - but the game flipped on its head with Callum Smith’s second-half red card as Kyle Benedictus, a Matthew Todd double and Todorov secured an unlikely three points for the Pars.
A week later the sides met again in Dunfermline, Airdrie taking the lead through Ben Stanway with Todorov again finding an equaliser. This time a red card didn’t haunt Airdrie, David Hutton saving a Benedictus penalty after Josh Rae had been ordered off.
Adam says the games sum up the doggedness which has handed the Fifers an immediate return to the Championship.
“If you listen to their gaffer speak, he’s been disappointed with them against us. I don’t think there’s been anything between us really, the three times we’ve played them.
“That’s probably why they’ve won the league, they’ve ground results out which is probably what we’ve not done at times.
“That’s the teams you want to play against, and I think they’ll bring a decent crowd so I’m looking forward to it.”
Diamonds player-assistant Callum Fordyce, an ex-Dunfermline captain, also had words of praise for his old team as he looked forward to Saturday’s match.
“Congratulations to Dunfermline - they’ve been the most consistent team over the course of the season, and they deserve it.
“It’s a game we just need to go and look forward to. The three games that we’ve had have been tight affairs, and Saturday will probably be exactly the same, I’d imagine.
“Coming here, it’s a game you look forward to, and I’m pretty sure they’ll be the same.”
The Diamonds assistant confirmed that defender Aaron Taylor-Sinclair will miss the match after picking up a hamstring strain at Falkirk.
Greg Aitken has refereed one previous match involving Airdrie this season - February’s 3-1 home defeat against Falkirk.
Match tickets and streaming details are available using the link below.
Saturday April 22, 2023
Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie
Gary Hilland, Liam Duncan