October 27, 2023
Inverness CT vs Airdrieonians
Airdrie kick off the second quarter of the cinch Championship campaign with a trip to Inverness, and Liam McStravick thinks the Diamonds can only get better as the season goes on.
Attacking midfielder McStravick returned from the international break - and his first call-up to the Northern Ireland Under 21 squad - to go straight into the starting line-up for last Friday’s 1-1 draw with Queen’s Park.
The 18-year-old was delighted to be involved, and has relished his time at the Excelsior so far.
“I’ve loved it! I think I’m getting better game by game, so long may it continue.
“I enjoyed the game. I was getting loads of the ball. I played wide - I think I can play anywhere attacking, but I think wide, I enjoy it.”
Airdrie make the long trip North to face Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday, and Rhys McCabe’s side hold the upper hand at this early stage, having already beaten the Highlanders 3-2 in the Viaplay Cup in July, and 2-1 in a home league fixture a month later.
There will be an element of the unknown for the Diamonds, as the hosts have had a change of manager since those matches, Duncan Ferguson taking over from the departed Billy Dodds.
It’s a completely new experience for McStravick, who joined Airdrie immediately after the August meeting - and is therefore unsure what to expect from Saturday’s visit to the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.
“Honestly, I haven’t a clue - I’ve never been up there!
“That’s the thing I like about this league, I’m going into matches not knowing anything about the other teams, so it’s good for me personally.
“I go in, just go and play with confidence, go and enjoy myself and hopefully score and assist as much as I can.”
With the Diamonds sitting in fourth place at the end of the first round of fixtures, the squad will be striving to increase the eight-point gap between themselves and ninth-placed Inverness.
Liam believes that he and his team-mates should be looking up the table rather than down.
“We just think we’re going to get better game by game as the season goes on.
“That’s us one quarter through the season now, so roll on the second quarter - and the third and fourth, and keep going!”
Manager Rhys McCabe says Inverness have already shown signs of improvement since the appointment of former Everton assistant Ferguson.
“What we do expect, and we know that we’ll get, is a well-organised hard-working team who are fighting and clawing at every opportunity to get points on the board.
“They’ve had a good turnaround since Duncan’s come in, and obviously their last game was postponed so it gives him more time on the training pitch to implement his ideas.
“We fully expect a tough game, you never go up to Inverness and get an easy game or a comfortable afternoon. We’ve got to make sure that the prep’s done right and everybody’s on board.”
Defenders Cammy Ballantyne and Aaron Taylor-Sinclair continue their respective recoveries from calf injuries and their progress will be monitored ahead of Saturday’s match.
Referee Calum Scott is in charge for his first fixture involving Airdrie this season.
Match tickets are available using the link below. Unfortunately there will be no DTVLive streams for Saturday’s game.
Saturday October 28, 2023
Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, Inverness
Daniel McFarlane, Colin McAlpine