Saturday May 4, 2019
Ladbrokes League One
Innes Cameron 61
Leighton McIntosh 9, 43, 55
Declan Glass 39
Leighton McIntosh was Airdrie’s hat-trick hero as the Diamonds ended the season with a slick 4-1 win at Stranraer.
The result ensured a fifth-placed finish for Airdrie while also completing a set of four wins over the Blues.
And striker McIntosh took home the match ball having secured his place as the Diamonds’ top-scorer and beating his own best goal tally for a single season.
The match may have been a dead rubber on paper, but there was no sign of either side settling for a dull 90 minutes to see out the season, as both teams played with a sense of freedom and created plenty of chances.
Airdrie threatened inside the first minute, but Blues keeper Max Currie easily saved Scott Stewart’s weak shot.
The home side went straight up the park and forced a diving save from David Hutton as Cameron Elliott fired in a shot.
With nine minutes on the clock, the Diamonds were in front and it was a classic counter-attacking move as Declan Glass turned in his own penalty area and lifted the ball into the path of Dean Hawkshaw. The former Stranraer loanee advanced through the middle, playing a fine ball through the defence which McIntosh raced onto before placing a measured strike beyond Currie.
Scott Stewart found a good position five minutes later, but his header was off-target.
Stranraer responded with two tempting crosses in the 20th minute, but the first evaded everyone before Hutton claimed the second.
Play continued to swing from end to end as McIntosh tested Currie again before Hutton saved Elliott’s header from point-blank range.
Stewart snatched at a loose ball on 25 minutes, but Currie was well placed to block with his feet.
McIntosh was looking lively upfront for Airdrie, and lifted the ball just over after good set-up play by Kieran Millar.
The Diamonds scored an excellent second on 39 minutes when Dean Cairns powered down the left before feeding Glass, who skipped away from Connor McManus and blasted past Currie.
Four minutes later Airdrie made it three with another good counter-attacking move. Sean Crighton headed a Stranraer corner clear and Glass strode forward, playing in McIntosh to net at the second attempt after Currie’s initial save.
McIntosh almost grabbed his hat-trick on the stroke of half-time, firing a low shot just wide of the target.
Airdrie continued their attacking play after the break, with Currie saving from Glass on 49 minutes.
McIntosh claimed the match ball seven minutes later, rising highest at the far post to nod home from Hawkshaw’s corner.
The Blues pulled one back three minutes later with a similar finish as Innes Cameron met Jamie Hamill’s corner kick and forced home the header despite Cairns’ best efforts at the far post.
Stevie Farrell’s men got a lift from the goal, and Alistair McCann went close on 69 minutes before substitute McColm forced a fine save from Hutton.
The last chance of the match fell to Sean McIntosh, who sent a powerful effort just wide seconds before the final whistle.
Back-to-back wins ensured a strong finish to the season for Ian Murray’s side, who can now enjoy a short break before gearing up for another League One campaign.
Stuart Mathie at Stair Park.
Photographs © John Steven. Click to view full size.