Champions Cove Rangers pushing Airdrie can help us in the play-offs, says boss


Airdrie boss Ian Murray tipped his hat to League One champions Cove Rangers, and said the title battle between the two sides could result in play-off glory for the Diamonds.

Murray’s side thumped Clyde 5-0 at Broadwood this afternoon, but Cove’s 1-0 triumph over Dumbarton means they were crowned champions, with a five-point lead going into the final round of games.

Airdrie have barely dropped a point since Christmas, because any slip-up would have resulted in Cove streaking ahead, so the standard has been really high, even if it didn’t result in a title win.

Far from being downbeat about it all, though, Murray says that means Airdrie can fully focus on their play-off semi-final first leg clash against Montrose in 10 days’ time and hopes they can earn promotion to the Championship.

But he was also pleased with that resounding result in Cumbernauld, with a Rhys McCabe penalty added to in the second half with strikes from Callum Smith, Calum Gallagher, Kyle MacDonald and Jon Afolabi.



Rhys McCabe sent Airdrie on their way to victory with a 37th-minute penalty

Murray said: “I’m really pleased. It was a very difficult game for us, it’s a really hard place to come – you saw that in the game that was abandoned due to fog, and in the 2-2 draw that was replayed .

“It’s a fantastic result, 5-0 away from home, and I couldn’t ask for too much more.

“We’ve got to give huge congratulations to Cove for winning the league, also a huge congratulations to my own players for pushing them so far.

“It was two really good sides, going head-to-head now since Christmas. We’ve ran out of games, and that’s the way it is.

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“In a perverse way it’s kind of nice for it to be done for us, so we can fully concentrate for 10 days’ time now against Montrose.”



Airdrie boss Ian Murray hopes Diamonds fans come out in numbers for the home game against Peterhead on Saturday
Airdrie boss Ian Murray hopes Diamonds fans come out in numbers for the home game against Peterhead on Saturday

Airdrie are clear in second place, with 71 points from 35 games, 12 ahead of third-placed Montrose, which in an ordinary season might have secured silverware.

Having equaled the club record for 19 games unbeaten in a season, Murray aims to go one better and end the season on a high at home to Peterhead, and hopes fans come out in their numbers.

Murray said: “[Going 19 games unbeaten and with 71 points without winning the league] is one of those unusual things, it’s testament to both sides, and I think both teams have pushed each other to get better, which is a huge positive.



Calum Gallagher made it 3-0, accepting a gift from Clyde keeper Neil Parry
Calum Gallagher made it 3-0, accepting a gift from Clyde keeper Neil Parry

“That will stand us in good stead for the future. I think that’s us now equaled the [unbeaten run in the] same-season record for the club, so huge congratulations to the players for doing that, and now we aim to go for that 20 against Peterhead next week.

“I hope the fans come out and give the boys a good send-off into the play-offs. They deserve that.

“But hopefully we can also repay the fans, because they’ve been behind us all season, really.

“We’ve managed to bridge the gap between the fans, the players and the club, which is very difficult to do, so it’s testament to the supporters and the whole football club, not just the players on the pitch but behind the scenes – we’ve worked tirelessly for that.”

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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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