December 8, 2023
Airdrieonians vs Dunfermline Athletic
Aaron Taylor-Sinclair says it’s high time Airdrie got a result against Saturday’s opponents Dunfermline Athletic, and the Diamonds defender is gunning for three points to leapfrog the Pars into fourth place.
Although encounters between the sides are typically close, James McPake’s men do hold the recent advantage with two wins and three draws in the last five meetings.
Player-coach Taylor-Sinclair is hopeful of a positive result after a decent showing against Partick Thistle weekend, with the Diamonds frustrated to leave Firhill empty-handed after a strong second-half display.
“I think we found ourselves quite disappointed by how the goals were conceded in the first half. Rightly so, we got a bit of a rollicking at half-time.
“Looking back at the game overall, we’ve sort of dominated the game - one of the stats from the second half was 70% possession.
“It was leading on to a positive end to the game, but we just couldn’t get that last goal.”
The defeat meant the Diamonds were unable to move back into the top four, having been overtaken by Dunfermline thanks to their 3-0 win over Arbroath the previous midweek.
The sides meet at the Excelsior this weekend, and Airdrie may feel they have a score to settle after losing 2-1 at East End Park on the opening day of the league season.
Craig Watson got the opener back in August, but the hosts ensured a flag-day celebration as they turned the match around thanks to Ewan Otoo’s header and a screamer from Paul Allan - although Airdrie were denied a stonewall penalty minutes after the Pars had gone in front.
Taylor-Sinclair says it’s no surprise to see the Fife side faring well on their return to the Championship.
“I think Dunfermline have proved that they’re quite a solid team. They don’t stray away from the shape that they’ve been playing the whole of last season and this season.
“We’ve got ideas how we can counter that, so hopefully we can get a positive result on Saturday to kick us on for the end of December.
“I’ve already said that we’re due a win against them - I’m really looking forward to the game, and hopefully we can get that victory over them.”
Despite the Pars’ turnaround on the opening day, Aaron believes that was an exception to the rule in such a tight league as he stresses the importance of a good start.
“Getting the first goal in this league is quite vital.
“Goals obviously change games and it’s a big factor, so hopefully we can get that first goal and the momentum changes.”
Manager Rhys McCabe expects the usual tough encounter against his old side, but insists that’s par for the course in the cut-throat environment of the Championship.
“It’ll be difficult, it’s two teams probably in the same run of form, a wee bit of up and down.
“As always, since last season and the season before, every time that we play Dunfermline the games are always difficult - and I think every game in this league is difficult.
“I know James, his teams are hard to beat and break down, and their record will show that. They don’t concede too many chances, and we know that first-hand.”
The Diamonds boss is again without midfielders Murray Aiken (ankle) and Lewis McGregor (heel) alongside defender Cammy Ballantyne, who faces a spell on the sidelines with a groin injury.
Referee Don Robertson is in charge of his first Airdrie match of the season.
Match tickets are available using the link below. Our DiamondsTV video (subscribers outwith the UK & Ireland only) and audio (pay-per-match worldwide) streams are also available - see link for details.
Pupils from Airdrie Academy will be holding a bucket collection around the ground on Saturday, please give generously if you can.
Young fans attending the game will be given a ticket for a special Christmas raffle courtesy of match sponsors Airdrie Mechanical Services - look out for full details later!
Please be aware that behaviour deemed unacceptable will result in ejection from the stadium. Issues arising during the match can be reported anonymously - see the posters around the stadium for more information. Our unacceptable conduct policy can be viewed using the link below.
Saturday December 9, 2023
Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie
Graham McNeillie, Alastair Taylor