Airdrie Cove Rangers handed ‘biggest game in Scotland’ tag by Diamonds boss ahead of title-defining crunch

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Airdrie manager Ian Murray says his side’s potentially title-defining match with Cove Rangers this Saturday is the only place to be in Scottish football.

The Diamonds are on a 14-game unbeaten streak in League One and clinched a promotion play-off spot with a 2-0 victory over Queen’s Park on Saturday.

Callum Smith and Dylan Easton strikes sealed a good afternoon’s work for Murray’s men, who will now lead his side into a huge game with Cove leaders.

Sitting second and five points off their weekend visitors, Murray reckons the fixture is game of the weekend in Scottish football, with how much is riding on it in terms of the title’s destination.

The Diamonds can’t afford to lose, but a win would haul them right into the fight and to within two points going into the final five games.

Murray said: “We can’t wait for it. We will embrace this and make sure the boys are ready and rested. Anyone trying to predict this scoreline, good luck to them!

“We are both trying to outfox each other. It’s set up to be a cracker. I hope we get a really good crowd and Cove bring down a really good crowd too.

“It’s probably the biggest game in Scotland next week in terms of league deciders. It’s certainly the biggest game for Airdrie fans.

“The first two games we played were cagey but the last game we played up at Cove was fantastic. It’s in our hands to cut the deficit so we want to cut Cove’s lead to two points with five games to go. Then it’s game on.”

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While aware of how big this Saturday’s match is for the League One title, the Airdrie manager no longer thinks it’s a pivotal one for their season.

Murray explained: “It’s not defining for our season at all. It will be defined in terms of where the league title will go. But we will take satisfaction in how well we’ve done so far.

“The boys have gone 14 games undefeated but we have to acknowledge how fantastic Cove have been as well. Both teams have had to do that to get where they are.”

With a promotion play-off spot booked, Airdrie will have the chance to contest for a place in the Championship this spring, no matter how the title race finishes.

Murray is content if a return to those matches – just like last season where they lost the final to Morton – occurs. Booking them early allows for some preparation work to begin.

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He added: “It gives us an opportunity to restock a bit.

“We will go into this weekend’s game trying to win it, obviously, but we will acknowledge how well the players have done.

“If it’s going to be the play-offs for us, it’s going to be the play-offs. We now have time to plan a little bit. We need to keep our standards high as the play-offs are nervous games.

“A game like next Saturday is perfect for preparing us, no matter what way this Saturday ends up.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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