Tomorrow afternoon Airdrieonians make their first visit of the season to Bayview Stadium. After reaching the play-offs in May, the Diamonds have got this campaign off to a slower start than they would have hoped for, although their cause has not been helped by the transfer of striker Andy Ryan to Dunfermline Athletic. There have also been changes off the park to contend with; the departure of Mark Wilson in the summer, former East Fife manager Willie Aitchison taking over on a temporary basis, before the appointment of current manager Stevie Findlay at the end of September.
Nonetheless, the Lanarkshire men have demonstrated that on their day they are a match for anyone in this division, as Stranraer found to their cost in their last league outing two weeks ago when a Ryan Conroy double helped earn a fine 2-0 win. They have also been one of the few teams to date to take points from league leaders Ayr United.
Bayview boss Darren Young will be happy to be back on home “turf” after three consecutive games on the road. Although disappointed by the defeats at Raith Rovers and Forfar Athletic, there were some good spells of possession from his side in both games. Last week’s Scottish Cup victory against Clyde at Broadwood saw the Fifers take their opportunities in front of goal, while equally importantly, denying their opponents at the other end of the park.
Better news too for the Bayview faithful on Saturday was the return of captain Kevin Smith to the starting line-up and the appearance of defender Craig Watson as substitute after several weeks absence through injury.
Recent encounters between the sides have been difficult to predict, with both teams performing better away from home. The only meeting this season saw the Fifers come out on top thanks to a Mark Docherty penalty, while Airdrieonians secured an impressive 4-0 victory on their last visit to Methil with the aforementioned Andy Ryan hitting a hat-trick.
Supporters of both clubs are reminded that they are welcome to enjoy refreshments at the stadium bars before and after the game.