May 19, 2023
Hamilton Academical vs Airdrieonians
Callum Fordyce says Airdrie’s narrow advantage could make all the difference going into Saturday evening’s Championship play-off second leg at Hamilton.
Callum Smith’s fantastic solo effort gave the Diamonds a 1-0 lead in Wednesday night’s first leg, and skipper Fordyce knows that it could prove to be massive.
“A good positive result - that was the main objective going into the game, especially the home tie. We’ve given ourselves something to go there with an advantage.
“They probably started the game a bit better than us. After the game settled down I thought we started to get into good areas, and maybe that final pass let us down.
“We’ve given ourselves that advantage, and a platform that we can go and build on.”
For a side that have gained a reputation as high scorers throughout the season, Airdrie’s two most recent results have been 1-0 victories.
Defender Fordyce says it proves his side can roll their sleeves up when necessary.
“If you look at the Falkirk game and the Hamilton game, we’ve probably shown a different side. With the defensive shape, the desire and hunger to go and block shots and head balls, it showed great character from the boys.
“We’ll need to do that on Saturday again, because they’ll throw everything at us. We just need to stand up and be counted.”
A huge home support had the Excelsior bouncing on Wednesday evening, and the Diamonds captain is quick to praise the Airdrie faithful.
“The fans have been excellent, especially the past 6-7 weeks. Once Dunfermline won the league we knew the process that we had to go through to get promotion, so they’ve had that vision as well as us.
“They’ve been great, they’ve been that extra person for us. It’ll be a massive part on Saturday again for us.”
With a rollercoaster season coming to an end on Saturday night, the Diamonds are aiming to bag promotion to the cinch Championship after a gruelling four games in two weeks.
Of course, it’s the same for both sides - and Callum dismisses any thought of fatigue playing a part.
“I’ve been tired from pre-season! I’ve only missed four games in four years - that’s what you’re paid to play football for.
“You’ve just got to get through it with that determination. We’ve got one more game to go, one big push, and that’s us.
“Whether it be 90 minutes, 120 minutes, penalties, it doesn’t matter - we’ve got an objective that we set at the start of the season to get promoted and that’s what we’re setting out to do.”
Airdrie player-manager Rhys McCabe added: “The boys are in good spirits. After the game on Wednesday there was a bit of disappointment, but that’s credit to how well the boys have responded throughout the season - that’s the kind of standards and mentality that I want to set throughout my squad.
“We’re in a good position, we’re confident and we’re full of enthusiasm. We’ve got to make sure that everyone’s on board now, and it’s about going out there and getting the job done.”
The Diamonds boss is without the suspended Craig Watson, but otherwise has a full squad to choose from.
Craig Napier referees Saturday’s clash, his first Airdrie match of the season.
Match tickets are available using the link below.
Saturday May 20, 2023
ZLX Stadium, Hamilton
Drew Kirkland, Alastair Mather