September 15, 2023
Arbroath vs Airdrieonians
Mason Hancock knows Arbroath well, having spent part of last season on loan at Gayfield, but the defender says the Diamonds will stick to their own principles in Angus this weekend.
English defender Hancock has started Airdrie’s last two matches after joining from Aberdeen in August, and insists it’s taken no time to settle in.
“I still haven’t been here long, but it’s a credit to the boys how welcoming they’ve been and how I’ve been able to go into the team and not feel out of place.
“The gaffer early doors told me to sit and watch the way we play, because it is different. It can take some getting used to, it’s a lot of bravery, but I totally agree with the way the club’s going.”
After brief substitute appearances against Ross County and Inverness, 20-year-old Hancock was pitched into the starting XI for the matches at Dundee United and University of Stirling.
Defeat at Tannadice was followed by last Saturday’s SPFL Trust Trophy win at Forthbank, and Hancock is aiming to secure a regular starting berth after slotting in seamlessly.
“You need to approach every game the same, no matter what league the opposition are in. If you approach every game with that mentality, not much can go wrong.
“You’ve got to be patient - and my time will come, I just need to make sure that’s the right time. I feel ready at the moment so I’m just hopefully kicking on now and really showing that there is more of my game to come.”
Former Fulham youth Hancock will be hoping to continue his good form as the Diamonds return to cinch Championship action for their first league match at Gayfield since 2019.
The Red Lichties romped to the League 1 title that season, and have performed well in the Championship since.
Hancock knows what to expect from Dick Campbell’s side, having played for the veteran manager 11 times on loan during the first half of last season.
“We better hope the wind machine isn’t on on Saturday, because that can make it tough!
“It’s not going to be an easy place to go. They can turn the game to the way they want to play it, but we’ll go there and focus on ourselves.
“I’m confident - and I know the boys will be - that we can walk away with three points.”
And Mason has already been sharing his insight into the Arbroath side with his new team-mates.
“Over the past few weeks I’ve talked about my time there, got across what I think they might do well and some of the players we need to keep an eye on.
“They have a good team, there’s no shying away from that. They’ll come to us with a gameplan and we’ll match them in that sense.”
Manager Rhys McCabe shares his player’s expectations that a tough game lies in store for the Diamonds.
“People forget that not too long ago they were ten minutes away from being a Premier League team.
“We know it’s going to be difficult in terms of what they pose, and it’s always a difficult place to go with the conditions and the pitch.
“We’ve got to make sure that we prepare properly, but at the same time we’re going up there confident that we’re going to come back down with the victory.”
Defender Craig Watson and midfielder Charlie Telfer both played part of the reserve side’s 0-0 draw with Dundee on Tuesday, and both will continue to be monitored ahead of the trip to Arbroath.
Craig Napier is the man in the middle for the Gayfield meeting. The referee has already officiated one Diamonds match this season, August’s 2-1 home win over Partick Thistle.
Match ticket information is available using the link below. Supporters are advised that there will be no cash gate for this fixture.
Saturday September 16, 2023
Gayfield Park, Arbroath
Paul McAvinue, Alastair Taylor