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March 18, 2023

cinch League 1





Gabby McGill 2, 45+2
Craig Watson 10
Calum Gallagher 13, 63, 87
Adam Frizzell 47



Airdrie were in seventh heaven as the Diamonds went goal crazy for the second week running, putting Peterhead to the sword with an exceptional performance.

Following the impressive 6-1 win over Kelty Hearts last weekend, manager Rhys McCabe stuck with the same XI and was rewarded for his faith with a glut of goals.

After the pre-match talk of being patient and waiting for chances, last week’s hat-trick hero had the Diamonds in front after just 59 seconds.

Cammy Ballantyne fed Callum Smith on the left, and although his looping cross was just too high for Justin Devenny, the ball bounced off Peterhead defender Kevin Joshua leaving the in-form Englishman to stroke home.

The Blue Toon almost equalised straight from kick-off, Andy McCarthy sending a good shot just wide of the post, but it would prove to be the only real chance of a miserable afternoon for David Robertson’s side.

With seven minutes played Calum Gallagher pounced on a poor kick-out from goalkeeper Stuart McKenzie before curling a lovely effort against the crossbar.

Two minutes later Airdrie did get a second, Gallagher squaring Callum Fordyce’s pass back across goal for defender Craig Watson to sidefoot home, adding to the goal he grabbed against Peterhead on the opening day of the league season.

The relentless Diamonds made it three a few minutes later as Gallagher got his first of the match, and it was an excellent finish from the striker as he accepted McGill’s pinpoint pass and curled the ball beyond McKenzie’s despairing dive.

With Peterhead’s gameplan in ruins, the visitors began to sit deep as they attempted to contain the rampant Diamonds, who were still finding routes through to goal with their short, sharp passing.

Callum Smith fired wide on 15 minutes after cutting in from the left, and was denied by McKenzie eight minutes later as the goalkeeper recovered well to pluck Smith’s goalbound effort out of the air after making a fine save from McGill.

Smith’s third good chance came on 32 minutes as the striker raced onto a long ball forward, but McKenzie read his clever touch and gathered.

In first half stoppage time McGill made it 4-0, Fordyce driving play forward as Airdrie sprayed passes around. The Diamonds captain ended up in the right wing position, and squared brilliantly for the unmarked McGill to finish.

After a quick start to the first half, the Diamonds repeated the feat after the break. McGill’s 47th-minute pass was deflected into the path of Devenny, who pulled the ball across goal for Adam Frizzell to smash into the far corner.

Devenny had an effort saved two minutes later, and McKenzie was at his best to deny Smith on 55 minutes.

Airdrie hit the woodwork again in the 57th minute, the impressive Devenny given all the time in the world to get a shot away, but unfortunately for the midfielder his strike cannoned off the underside of the bar.

Gallagher got his second and Airdrie’s sixth five minutes later, showing his poacher’s instinct to steer the ball home after Frizzell’s low strike had been blocked by the boot of McKenzie.

Personnel changes followed for the Diamonds, but their hunger for goals remained as Watson came close to adding to his tally with a 68th-minute drive which whistled past the post.

A double-ricochet almost took a shot from substitute Charlie Telfer into the net via a defender and Gallagher, but on this occasion the striker’s touch went wide, before Ben Stanway combined with Watson to tee up McGill, who couldn’t keep his header down from two yards out.

There was little for Josh Rae to do in the Airdrie goal, but the keeper showed he was keeping his concentration with a great take from a 74th-minute Peterhead free-kick.

Gallagher completed his hat-trick with three minutes remaining, Lewis McGregor putting in a delightful cross from the right, and the Diamonds number 9 once again in the right place to turn the ball home as McKenzie came to punch.

McGregor could have added to the tally himself in stoppage time, bursting down the right and homing in on goal, but McKenzie took advantage of a heavy touch to gather.

There was no further action at either end as the Diamonds equalled their best-ever league scoreline, while also inflicting Peterhead’s worst-ever league defeat.

A Friday night fixture at Hamilton is next up for Airdrie as they seek to maintain their top four position against Clyde.

Stuart Mathie at Excelsior Stadium.

Photos © John Steven. Click to view full-size.

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