December 29, 2023
Queen’s Park vs Airdrieonians
Airdrie end 2023 with a trip to Hampden Park on Saturday, and Gabby McGill wants a return to the free-flowing football which made it a successful year for the Diamonds.
Rhys McCabe’s side take on Queen’s Park at the national stadium having joined the Spiders in the Championship in the summer, with striker McGill’s late play-off final equaliser playing a huge part in the club’s promotion.
The return to the second tier has provided plenty of ups and downs so far, but Airdrie are aiming to end the year on a high after halting a three-match losing streak with last weekend’s goalless draw against Morton.
McGill believes that one point is better than none as the side fight for a return to form.
“I think I must be the only player on the pitch that would think this, but at the time I was thinking we had more than half a chance of getting a really good result.
“We may not have played very well, I don’t think they particularly played very well - I’m pretty sure everyone thinks it was a war of attrition type of game. Let’s see who breaks, and neither team really broke.
“I always think you’re going to have a chance to score and win the game, but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be. We could look back and think it’s a very good point come the end of the season, you never know how these things pan out.”
With Queen’s Park on an identical run over the last four matches amid management changes at the club, both sides will be looking for a positive result after drawing in the season’s first meeting, goals from Calum Gallagher and Jack Turner ensuring a 1-1 scoreline at the Excelsior in October.
McGill is looking forward to playing at Hampden, and insists that form isn’t a concern for the squad as they prepare for the trip to Glasgow’s southside.
“You look forward to every game. Perhaps we were on a better run of form when we played Queen’s Park last time, but no-one’s in training thinking ‘oh god, we’re on a bad run of form’ - we’re just thinking of the best way to get the job done on Saturday.
“Walking away with three points would be a great way to end the year.”
The striker is also quick to repeat the mantra that the Diamonds are focussed on their own performance.
“We watch clips and some of their games recently have been on the TV, so the boys have watched them.
“We have ideas, but I think at the end of the day we need to focus on ourselves and how we play - get back to chests out and strutting our stuff, which I think throughout the majority of the year we’ve been incredible at.
“Although we’ll have ideas about them, it’s all about us and getting back to what we love to do.”
And with three points on everyone’s wishlist as hogmanay beckons, Gabby is hoping for an ending as memorable as the rest of the year.
“Football’s quite tough in the sense that you can score the winner one week and then the next week you miss a sitter, and I think people are quite easy to forget.
“I just hope people haven’t forgotten the year - as a calendar year, everything that Airdrie have achieved really is incredible.
“What a way to end the year, a big three points on Saturday - so fingers crossed!”
Manager Rhys McCabe isn’t expecting big changes from Queen’s Park under new boss Paul Nuijten, who took over from fellow Dutchman Robin Veldman earlier this month.
“They’ve got a model and a philosophy - it doesn’t matter whether it’s their under 12s manager coming in or someone totally new to the job.
“We fully expect them to play the same kind of style, maybe with different tweaks and ideas from the new manager being in there, but we expect a tough game. We watched their game on Friday and they defended really well, so we know that we’re going to be in for a tough one.
“Both teams will try to play the right way - conditions may play a part, but we’ll still get the ball down on the ground and play, but ultimately try to get more on the front foot.”
The Diamonds boss is still without defender Cammy Ballantyne (groin) and midfielder Murray Aiken (ankle), but otherwise has a fully fit squad.
Referee Don Robertson is in charge of the Hampden encounter. The whistler recently officiated Airdrie’s home match against Dunfermline Athletic.
Match tickets are available using the link below, and our DTVLive video (subscribers outwith the UK & Ireland) and audio (pay-per-match worldwide) streams are available subject to connectivity.
Saturday December 30, 2023
Hampden Park, Glasgow
David McGeachie, Brian Christie