September 1, 2023
Dundee United vs Airdrieonians
Murray Aiken believes the Diamonds have shown they have what it takes to get a result against Championship favourites Dundee United this weekend.
Airdrie travel to Tannadice to take on Jim Goodwin’s side on Saturday, and Hibernian loanee Aiken is in good form since replacing injured player-manager Rhys McCabe in the centre of midfield.
“I’m loving it, it’s been good since the moment I got here. I’m just enjoying getting more and more minutes.
“It’s not so great him getting injured! But I’m glad that he’s trusted me and given me lots of minutes so far, so hopefully I can just keep kicking on.”
Aiken excelled against Inverness CT last Saturday, putting in an incredible shift after captain Adam Frizzell had been dismissed for a second yellow-card offence.
Controlling the midfield alongside Man of the Match Dean McMaster, the 18-year-old’s dynamic performance helped to protect the Diamonds’ advantage - and secure a 2-1 victory.
“It’s not ideal going down to ten men, but we all came together well at the weekend, and I think we’ll be fine.
“Confidence is high, we all know how good we can be. We know how challenging the league will be, but I think within us all we know that we can go anywhere and get a good result.
“It will be hard at times, but there’s a high confidence within us all.”
Having made one senior appearance for Hibs before joining Airdrie on loan, Aiken is clearly enjoying regular first-team football - and is pleased that the Diamonds’ good form is allowing him to take it in his stride.
“I thought going into the season it might be harder, the physicality, but I think I’ve been fine in those games.
“We’ve all done very well, and I think the fans can see that we’ve gone toe-to-toe with all these teams, so it’s been good so far.”
Saturday sees Airdrie visit Tannadice for the first time since September 2008, and with the Terrors heavily backed to make an immediate return to the top flight, it could well be the side’s toughest test yet.
United are unbeaten against the Diamonds since the club’s reformation in 2002, but Murray believes that an away win is within reach.
“I watched them against Arbroath and they looked a strong side, but we don’t normally look into other teams too much, we more focus on ourselves.
“I think if we perform to our high standard then we’ll cope fine against anyone.”
Manager Rhys McCabe backs his side to perform under any circumstances.
“Dundee United have started reasonably well and are the bookies’ favourites, coming down with the budget and finance that they’ve got, but we’re going up there with no fear.
“My teams won’t fear anyone, regardless of who we’re playing. We’ll give them the due respect that they deserve - they’re a good side with good experience and good quality - but it’s about having the mentality that we’re not just going up there to take part and absorb pressure.
“We’re fully focussed and fully confident that we’ll go and execute our gameplan.”
The Diamonds boss is edging closer to a return from knee ligament damage, while former United man Charlie Telfer remains doubtful with tendonitis. Fellow midfielder Adam Frizzell is suspended.
Chris Graham referees the Tannadice clash.
Match tickets and streaming details are available via the link below.
Saturday September 2, 2023
Tannadice Park, Dundee
Alastair Mather, Craig Macrae