March 12, 2022

cinch League 1

Falkirk

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1-4

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Leigh Griffiths 76

Airdrieonians

Callum Smith 6, 62
Calum Gallagher 74
Scott McGill 83

The Diamonds sparkled at Falkirk once again as Airdrie produced a superb performance to smash four past the Bairns.

Manager Ian Murray went with the same starting XI and bench as last week following the hardworking 2-0 win at Alloa, while Falkirk boss Martin Rennie started recent signings Jaze Kabia and Leigh Griffiths upfront.

It was the home side who probed in the opening moments, but Craig Watson marshalled Griffiths well in the fourth minute.

Three minutes later the Diamonds got their first sight of goal and Callum Smith continued last week’s good form, picking up after Gabby McGill and Adam Frizzell had worked the ball out to the left, before powering along the edge of the box and firing home a fine finish beyond Robbie Mutch.

Mutch was called into action again two minutes later as a ball from the left was knocked backwards by Paul Watson, the defender almost heading into his own net.

Calum Gallagher was next to test the keeper, who parried the striker’s attempt before diving on the loose ball.

Frizzell was at the heart of much of Airdrie’s good work, and the lively midfielder did well to win possession and draw a foul on 15 minutes.

As Falkirk fought back five minutes later, McGill was back to make a fine defensive header before Rhys McCabe completed the clearance.

The Diamonds were spreading the play well, and it took some stout defending to prevent a 26th minute attack coming to fruition before McGill was denied a penalty shout four minutes later.

Mutch showed safe hands to handle Dylan Easton’s 35th-minute effort, saving again from Smith a minute later after Currie had dealt with a Kabia header and launched a counter-attack.

McGill was denied by the referee’s whistle seven minutes from half-time as Lloyd Wilson blew for a foul on McCabe with the Airdrie striker closing in on goal.

With only a goal separating the sides, Falkirk continued to get forward as the interval approached, but Currie got down well to save a Charlie Telfer header on 40 minutes.

Another pacey attack came to nothing as Gallagher’s through ball had too much on it for McGill after a strong run by Brody Paterson, and Frizzell blocked from Griffiths in the last action of the first half.

The Bairns had shown signs of life before the break, and it took an outstanding save from Currie to keep the Diamonds in front five minutes after the restart, the keeper diving full length to keep out a netbound Kabia header.

Easton hooked a shot over the bar on 57 minutes as both sides chased the next goal, and the Diamonds midfielder saw another effort saved by Mutch two minutes later.

Airdrie had a free-kick six yards from goal following a 61st-minute passback, but McCabe’s strike cleared the bar.

The Diamonds weren’t to be denied much longer, and Easton was the architect as he controlled a loose ball from Leon McCann and played in Smith, who took a touch before smashing his and Airdrie’s second into the back of the net.

Easton was looking to get his own name on the scoresheet, but was closed down quickly after good play from Watson.

Griffiths headed just wide on 72 minutes, but three minutes later Calum Gallagher showed the ex-Scotland striker how it was done with a finish similar to his late winner at Westfield two and a half years ago. Sprinting to the front post to meet a Watson cross, the Airdrie hitman angled a deft header beyond Mutch before running to celebrate with the jubilant Diamonds fans behind the goal.

Griffiths was not to be denied two minutes later, nodding home Ryan Williamson’s cross to make it 3-1.

Frizzell flattened Falkirk’s Watson with a stinging effort from outside the box with 11 minutes remaining before Easton created a chance out of nothing three minutes later, sending his curling effort just too high and wide of the top corner.

Substitute Scott McGill added some gloss to the scoreline on 83 minutes, accepting Easton’s flick on the left and driving into the box before turning two defenders and picking out the bottom corner in some style.

That was enough for the Diamonds, who made a triple-substitution to see out the remaining minutes and finish with their second three-goal winning margin in Falkirk this season.

Stuart Mathie at The Falkirk Stadium

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