Saturday June 24, 2017
Gala Fairydean Rovers
Robbie Leighton 46
Cammy Russell 50 pen, 64
Airdrie beat Gala 3-0 in their first pre-season fixture, but the return of captain Marc Fitzpatrick was just as pleasing for the travelling Diamonds fans.
A comfortable win was matched by a dominant performance from Airdrie, and the introduction of several U20s players in the second half saw possession turn into goals.
Skipper Fitzpatrick returned to the centre of midfield for his first appearance since sustaining ligament damage in November, while striker Andy Ryan watched from the bench after being ruled out with a hip injury.
The Borderers had two former Diamonds in their squad, midfielder Darren Smith and striker Stuart Noble.
The home side were gifted a golden opportunity after just four minutes when Airdrie keeper Rohan Ferguson gathered the ball from Dean Cairns' challenge and the referee ruled it a deliberate passback. Cairns was on hand to block the 8-yard setpiece effort, and the danger was cleared.
Adam Brown, listed as a trialist for contractual reasons, went close with a long-range drive after 22 minutes before fellow midfielder Ryan Conroy saw his free kick deflected wide minutes later.
Scott Thomson was impressing for the Diamonds despite some rough treatment from the Gala defence, and the young striker was unlucky not to score on 34 minutes when his header from Cammy Russell's cross rebounded back off the crossbar.
A raft of changes saw a more youthful looking side take to the field for the second half, and with only a minute on the clock, Airdrie took the lead.
Robbie Leighton did well to control the ball from a high forward punt, and remained composed to lift the ball over the onrushing Gala goalkeeper.
Four minutes later Cammy Russell doubled the lead from the penalty spot, slotting home after Scott Thomson had been upended in the box.
The flow of the game fizzled out after the second goal, with a number of Gala substitutions disrupting play.
However there was still time for Airdrie to get a third, and it was Russell who doubled his tally from a similar position to Leighton's opener, firing home an accurate low strike.
Stuart Mathie at Netherdale Park.
Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full size.
Gala Fairydean Rovers