April 28, 2023
Airdrieonians vs Queen of the South
Craig Watson is eyeing three points against Queen of the South on Saturday as the Diamonds aim to extend their unbeaten run ahead of the play-offs.
Saturday’s draw against champions Dunfermline Athletic ensured Airdrie’s top-four finish and made it seven games without defeat - the last team to take three points from the Diamonds being this week’s visitors.
Watson has been ever-present during that run, and is pleased to have secured a play-off place - but the defender wanted more against a Dunfermline side who saw two red cards in the second half last weekend.
“We managed to get to grips with it better in the second half, and given that they went down to nine men you’d be hoping for the win.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t to be - credit to Dunfermline, I suppose that’s why they are where they are. They’ve managed to get points when it might be against them.”
Marvin Bartley’s Queen of the South, who won 3-2 in March before the run of form which saw Airdrie clinch a coveted top-four position, will feel they require snookers with two games remaining.
The Doonhamers currently sit six points off fourth place, with an unfavourable goal difference.
Watson says the objective is clear for the Diamonds as the regular league season draws to a conclusion.
“Win both games remaining - it’s pretty straightforward.
“You want to end up with the best points total possible and take that momentum into the play-offs.”
With final positions still to be decided in both League 1 and the Championship, Airdrie don’t yet know who they’ll face in the May semi-final, but having lost in the final in the last two seasons, Watson believes the squad are now better equipped.
“I’m not even over last year yet! You’ve just got to get on with it. I suppose a good spine of the team were there last year as well, so again more experience.
“We’ve just got to come together as a team, we’ve got a little bit of a new identity this year so we’ve just got to play our own style.”
No matter the outcome on Saturday, fans and players alike will be in celebratory mood after the final whistle as the end-of-season awards are presented on the pitch.
Craig is quite happy for his good work at the back to go unnoticed.
“I’m not getting my hopes up for any awards, but it’ll be good!
“It’s a nice wee occasion to round off the league, and that’ll hopefully set us up nicely for going into those play-offs.”
Player/assistant-manager Callum Fordyce is ready to face one of his old clubs for the second successive week, and knows that both sides will be going for the win regardless of the ramifications.
“Since Marvin’s come in they’ve done really well, they’ve played a good brand of football and got some good results.
“They’ll be coming here to try to get a result as well as ourselves - we don’t want to take the foot off the gas, we want that momentum to keep going. It can play a massive part.”
The Diamonds assistant confirmed that he and manager Rhys McCabe may make changes in order to rest some first-team regulars ahead of the play-offs.
Defender Aaron Taylor-Sinclair remains doubtful with a hamstring knock, but striker Gabby McGill resumed full training this week.
Referee Grant Irvine’s only other Airdrie match this season was August’s 1-1 draw at Dunfermline Athletic.
Match tickets and streaming details are available using the links below.
Saturday April 29, 2023
Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie
Chris Rae, David Milton