November 10, 2023
Airdrieonians vs Arbroath
Gabby McGill wants to make amends for a lacklustre performance the last time Airdrie met Arbroath - with a home win over the Red Lichties this weekend.
A bitterly disappointing September afternoon at Gayfield saw Dick Campbell’s men ease to a 4-0 victory over the Diamonds with both sides reduced to ten men, but McGill is finding form at the right time for the return fixture, having bagged a brace against Rangers B in the SPFL Trust Trophy in midweek.
“It’s good to get back on the scoresheet! I’ll be the first to admit, so far this season - just the one goal, so it’s nice to get two more.
“Ultimately the aim was the next round, but obviously we know we could play better - that’s the standards that we set, we’re always looking to improve.”
The 4-2 win against the Ibrox men ended a run of five matches without victory for Airdrie, although signs of an upturn in form were evident in recent league matches against the top two, Dundee United and Raith Rovers.
English striker McGill believes that things are turning around for the Diamonds, and goals - and victories - will naturally follow.
“I think the results will take care of themselves if the performances are up to our standard, and we have been getting back there.
“We know the emphasis for us boys up top is that when we get the chance, we need to take it. You saw Toddy getting the goal on Saturday, and we could have had more, so once everything starts to click I’m sure that it will be free-flowing.”
Saturday’s match at the Excelsior is the last in a run of five games in 15 days, a schedule which has taken its toll on Rhys McCabe’s squad as a number of injuries have been picked up or exacerbated.
McGill says the players are happy to be so busy.
“Each game that comes in this run of fixtures, from a player’s point of view it’s brilliant. You’ve got games coming thick and fast where there’s a chance to prove who you are as a player and as a person.
“At the end of the day we all play football to play games, not just training, so it’s good from our point of view.”
Before a two-week break from league action, during which Airdrie will face Morton in the SPFL Trust Trophy and Stranraer in the Scottish Cup, the Diamonds have a chance to right some wrongs against Arbroath.
The Angus side travel to the Excelsior with concerns over their own form, having lost their last three matches amid a defensive injury crisis.
The Red Lichties had no such concerns in September, when goals from Michael McKenna, Jermain Hylton, Jay Bird and Leighton McIntosh secured an emphatic win over the Diamonds - and Gabby says atonement may be in the thoughts of some Airdrie players.
“I think that’s up to personal preference, maybe you’ve got that personally in the back of your mind thinking ‘we owe them one here’, but in terms of the collective it’s just about executing our gameplan and imposing our style of play on them and on the game itself.
“From a personal point of view, I know myself we can’t be getting beat 4-0 and that doesn’t stick with you. If we stick to our style of play and our gameplan, everyone’s confident that we can come out with the win.”
Player-manager Rhys McCabe, who was himself on the midweek scoresheet with an outrageous stoppage-time free-kick, added: “We’ll prepare like every other game and do our homework. I always look at the bigger picture and yes, we suffered a heavy defeat up there and ultimately our own mistakes cost us in that game.
“We’ve both come a long way since then, and getting them at our place is a totally different game from going up to Arbroath. We’ve probably grown in confidence now, and after the first quarter we’ve kicked on and we know what our goals and targets are.”
The Diamonds boss will be without defender Mason Hancock (knee) and midfielder Murray Aiken (ankle), but is otherwise pleased with the improving health of his squad.
Grant Irvine referees Airdrie for the third time this season, having officiated the recent home draw with Queen’s Park and the season opener at Dunfermline Athletic.
Match tickets and livestream details are available using the link below.
Saturday November 11, 2023
Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie
Graham McNeillie, Scott Anderson