August 6, 2022
cinch League 1
Calum Gallagher 21, 61
Gabby McGill 85
Salim Kouider-Aïssa 89
Airdrie smashed four past Falkirk as the Diamonds continue their sparkling start under Rhys McCabe’s management.
The stunning victory meant Airdrie have won their opening two league fixtures for the first time since season 2011/12, with some deadly finishing and another clean sheet making the result all the more impressive.
There were two changes from the side that claimed a 2-0 opening-day win at Peterhead, Lewis Jamieson and Calum Gallagher replacing Ben Wylie and Gabby McGill in the starting line-up while loanee Murray Johnson continued in goal.
Airdrie have held the upper hand over Falkirk in recent years, but the appointment of John McGlynn as manager looked to have steadied the ship for the Bairns as they started the match in decent form, knocking the ball about well in the Excelsior Stadium sunshine.
The home side were the first to threaten though, when a storming run down the left by Euan Deveney led to a dangerous free-kick.
Jamieson saw an initial shot blocked from the setpiece, with PJ Morrison collecting the striker’s cross as the ball broke back to him.
Juan Alegria should have done better when a tenth-minute through ball put him through on goal, but the Rangers loanee drifted wide and stumbled as he attempted to cross.
Craig Watson blocked from the ever-dangerous Callumn Morrison three minutes later, with Cammy Ballantyne drawing a similar reaction from the visiting defence after a good ball from Adam Frizzell on 15 minutes.
Morrison was finding good positions around the edge of the box, and forced a good save from Johnson after 20 minutes, but a minute later the Diamonds were in front.
Frizzell’s defence splitting pass put Jamieson through on goal, and while Brad McKay did well to block the initial shot, the ball rolled to the feet of Gallagher who made no mistake with the goal gaping.
Morrison and Aidan Nesbitt both had efforts off-target as Falkirk continued to pose problems, but it was Frizzell who came closest to adding a second with a powerful strike which flew just over on 38 minutes.
Johnson saved from Morrison four minutes later, and the sides went in at the break with Airdrie holding a slender lead.
Goalkeeper Morrison saved a Justin Devenny effort early in the second half, before diving at the feet of Callum Smith on 51 minutes after a neat one-two between the Airdrie forward and Gallagher. It was to be Morrison’s last involvement, the goalkeeper replaced by Paddy Martin after hurting himself making the save.
Martin’s first involvement was to clutch a curling Ballantyne effort following a quick free-kick on 56 minutes, and the keeper also saved from Gallagher shortly after.
Falkirk sub Gary Oliver drew a 59th-minute save from Johnson, and as the Diamonds broke it took a superb sliding challenge from Sean Mackie to deny Jamieson a sight of goal.
Airdrie won a corner on the hour-mark, although Gallagher’s shot seemed to go behind off the post without a touch from a visiting defender. The Diamonds showed no mercy as the corner was worked across and Gallagher swept home from close range.
Johnson was working hard to maintain a clean sheet, and the Hibs man had to pull of a superb diving stop to deny Alegria on 63 minutes.
A triple-substitution followed for the visitors, with new signings Rumarn Burrell and Oluwasegun Lawal joining the fray, but it was Airdrie who continued to press their advantage with the impressive Jamieson forcing Martin into a decent 73rd-minute save.
With all their substitutions made, Falkirk were reduced to ten men when Brad McKay was stretchered off with ten minutes remaining, and Airdrie took advantage of their extra man in style.
Substitute Gabby McGill played in Frizzell on 84 minutes, with the midfielder sending an angled effort just wide, but the pair combined again a minute later to produce an excellent goal, McGill chesting down Frizzell’s curling pass and lifting the ball over the advancing Martin for the Diamonds’ third.
Salim Kouider-Aïssa continued his comeback from injury, replacing Jamieson with three minutes to play, and the striker was in the right place to slam home his first touch of the ball after a McCabe free-kick wasn’t dealt with.
Ben Wylie, another arrival from the bench, almost got a fifth in stoppage time, beating Martin with a deft strike, but the ball was acrobatically cleared and the rampant Diamonds had to settle for four.
Stuart Mathie at Excelsior Stadium.
Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.