Tuesday July 18, 2017
Betfred Cup Group H
Cammy Russell 29, 67
Andy Ryan 63 pen
Scott Robertson 81
Cammy Russell was Airdrie's two-goal debut hero as the Diamonds got their season off to a flyer with a Betfred Cup win over Stranraer.
With the other four sides in Group H having kicked off their campaign on Saturday, Airdrie saw their competitive season get underway with a Tuesday evening match against the Blues, who had slumped 4-1 at home to St Mirren at the weekend.
Three minutes in Airdrie showed they were up for the match after Andy Ryan chased a long ball to win the first corner.
Former Diamond Ryan Wallace was on a target a minute later as he fired a low 25 yard shot that Rohan Ferguson gathered comfortably.
Ryan was full of running as he harried Stranraer keeper Belford in eight minutes and the Englishman was fortunate to fire the ball off the striker and wide of his goal.
Ryan then made a fine run down the left and his driven cross was just too strong for an inrushing Cammy Russell with 14 minutes on the clock.
The visitors were working hard at the back and a long cross from MacDonald was headed just wide of his own goal by Lang for a corner which came to nothing.
A Ryan Conroy pass for Scott Stewart saw the defender race into the box and drive the ball low from a tight angle, but Belford turned it away for a corner in 22 minutes.
Wallace tried his luck with a couple of efforts, his free kick then follow up dealt with by Ferguson.
Airdrie broke the deadlock after half an hour, and it was 19-year-old Russell who latched on to a loose ball on the edge of the area, steadied himself and fired a low driven shot to the left of Belford for the opening goal.
Ten minutes later a long pass by Stewart to Ryan saw the latter play an incisive pass to put Russell in the clear, but Belford made a great save as the youngster tried to chip the ball over the keeper.
12 minutes into the second period Ferguson made a decent save from Hamill’s shot after a good free kick with Wallace.
On the hour Belford went from saint to sinner - having kept his side in the match with that fine save in the first half, he picked up a red card after a flailing arm struck Ryan.
With substitute keeper Max Currie taking his place in goal, Ryan picked himself up to slot home the resultant penalty.
In 67 minutes it was three, Ryan setting up his strike partner after racing into the box and drawing the keeper. Russell had the simplest of tasks to turn the ball into the unguarded net.
Stranraer struck a consolation counter when Robertson rose powerfully to head home at the near post from a Wallace corner with nine minutes remaining.
Another red card followed for Stranraer with five minutes left, David Barron receiving a second booking for a late foul on Ryan.
A great start to the season for the Diamonds, coupled with a very decent performance to give them all three points.
Referee: Mr Kevin Graham
John O'Brien at Excelsior Stadium.
Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full size.
4. Cairns ▊
8. Fitzpatrick 🔽 (61)
9. Ryan ⚽
10. Russell ⚽⚽ ▊ 🔽 (82)
12. Higgins 🔼 (61)
14. McLaughlin 🔼 (82)
1. Belford ▊
2. Robertson ⚽
4. Barron ▊▊
7. Woods 🔽 (80)
16. Turner 🔽 (62)
14. Okoh 🔽 (68)
10. Agnew 🔼 (68) ▊
11. Anderson 🔼 (80)
13. Currie 🔼 (62)