September 8, 2023
University Of Stirling vs Airdrieonians
Gabby McGill says Airdrie will treat Saturday’s meeting with University of Stirling the same as any other match as the striker rules out complacency in the SPFL Trust Trophy tie.
The Diamonds travel to Stirling Albion’s Forthbank Stadium to take on the Lowland League side, who earned their place in the third round with a shock win over Clyde in August.
Striker McGill will be hoping to be gain more minutes on the pitch following an early-season hamstring injury, but insists he is already back to full fitness.
“I was trying to push to be back for the first game of the season at Dunfermline, but that came around a bit too quick. Obviously I was on the bench against Partick, came on, and managed to score and we got the first win.
“Personally I feel fit, I feel good, and I’m raring to go again.”
The Englishman played 70 minutes as Airdrie slipped to a 2-0 defeat at Dundee United last weekend, but the Diamonds were entitled to feel a little unlucky after a good performance at Tannadice.
McGill, who celebrated his 23rd birthday earlier this week, is enjoying life in the Championship.
“From League 1, I think it’s certainly more physical. I think the most important thing is consistency - you can see in this league that anyone can beat anyone.
“If we manage to get some consistency in our results and get a run together, you find yourself quickly moving up that table. Fingers crossed we do that, and I’m sure we will!”
With two wins already under their belts following this summer’s return to the second tier, Airdrie have a break from league action this weekend as they enter the SPFL Trust Trophy.
Chris Geddes’s University of Stirling stand between the Diamonds and the fourth round, and McGill is aware that he and his team-mates can’t afford to drop their standards against the Lowland League side.
“That’ll be what hopefully University of Stirling will be thinking, that we’ll come and be complacent, but I think we’ve had those types of games before - Bonnyrigg was one of them, where it was ours to lose.
“We put in a professional performance and got the the job done, and I’m expecting nothing less. We’ll treat it as any normal week, still train as hard as we always do and prepare as well as we always do, and come Saturday everyone will be bang on it.
“I don’t think there’s any chance of complacency.”
As usual, cup competition can provide an opportunity for rotation amid the hustle-bustle of the league season, but Gabby knows that won’t be a problem as the Diamonds have quality throughout the squad.
“It might be a chance for people to get more minutes, it might be a chance for the starting XI to become more clear.
“Whoever goes out on that pitch knows that the standard needs to be really, really high, and I’m positive it will.
“A real professional performance, and get the job done - that’s what we’re all hoping for and I’m sure that’s what’s going to happen.”
Player-manager Rhys McCabe sees the match as a chance to rest some players who have seen a lot of gametime already this season.
“It’s a good opportunity - we’ve been a wee bit unfortunate in terms of having boys who have played 90 minutes of every single game - so it’s a possibility to give a rest to those boys.
“Subs have come on in recent weeks and had a real impact, so it’s a good chance for them to train well this week and hopefully get the opportunity to go and get some minutes.
“The big message this week will be about mentality. We treat this game like every game, we give them the respect that they’re due, but we make sure that we apply ourselves and we do our homework.”
While McCabe himself has resumed full training following a knee injury, Craig Watson (groin) and Charlie Telfer (knee) remain doubtful. Dean McMaster is expected to be available following a knock sustained against Dundee United.
Captain Adam Frizzell returns from suspension, but defender Aaron Taylor-Sinclair misses out as he joins the Antigua & Barbuda squad to face Guyana and Puerto Rico.
Alan Muir referees the third round tie.
Attendance information is available using the link below.
Saturday September 9, 2023
Forthbank Stadium, Stirling
Craig Ferguson, Ian Hart