After last week’s five-goal salvo against Stenhousemuir at Stark’s Park, Rovers are on their travels for the first time this year, as they head to the Penny Cars Stadium to face Ian Murray’s reinvigorated Airdrie.

The Diamonds had been plagued by inconsistency this term, both before and after the former Hibs and Norwich City player had been appointed manager, but three successive league wins have taken them to within a point of Forfar Athletic who sit fourth in the table.

The latest of their trio of victories was their most impressive, travelling to Methil and coming back with all three points, thanks to goals from Kyle Wilkie and Leighton McIntosh in a 2-1 win.

Both players have been in good form this season, with Wilkie supplying five goals from midfield, while McIntosh has scored four in his last five appearances, and he seems to have struck up an effective partnership with Darryl Duffy, with the veteran forward Airdrie’s top scorer with 10 goals.

It’s not just the goals scored column where Airdrie are impressing though they’re also keeping them out at the other end, with only Arbroath conceding fewer in the third tier.

With Murray able to call upon the services of Jonathon Page, Sean Crighton and Scott Robertson amongst others for his defensive berths, the Airdrie boss has a wealth of experience at the back, and with just one goal conceded in their three recent victories, Rovers might find it a little trickier to pierce their defence than the last time they visited the stadium.

That was back in August, when a Liam Buchanan hat-trick and a goal from Kevin Nisbet saw Rovers come back from 3-1 down to win 4-3 in a quite astonishing closing few minutes.

Things were slightly more straightforward last month when the sides met at Stark’s Park, when a goal apiece from Nisbet and Buchanan saw Rovers win 2-0.

Rovers are actually unbeaten in 12 games against Airdrie, winning nine and drawing three in that time.

Saturday’s match referee will be David Munro.

Head-To-Head League Record At Airdrie:

Airdrie Wins: 3 | Raith Rovers Wins: 5 | Draws: 5

Airdrie Goals: 18

Raith Rovers Goals: 16

Current Form:

Airdrie: L-D-L-W-W-W | Raith Rovers: W-L-W-W-L-W

Top Goal Scorers:

Airdrie: Darryl Duffy 10 | Leighton McIntosh 8 | Joao Victoria 8

Raith Rovers: Kevin Nisbet 20 | Liam Buchanan 9 | Lewis Vaughan 6

Match Odds:

Airdrie: 9/5 | Raith Rovers: 13/10 | Draw: 27/10


Gap Widens After Airdrie Point

The incremental gains that were made into Arbroath’s lead just before Christmas were wiped away this afternoon, as Raith Rovers drew 1-1 with Ian Murray’s Airdrieonians.

Like the last fixture there in August, a lacklustre performance required a fightback from the away side, but despite Euan Murray equalising a Leighton McIntosh first-half penalty, Rovers couldn’t find a way past an inspired David Hutton for the all important winner.

John McGlynn went with the same starting eleven which put five past Stenhousemuir the previous weekend, with new signing, Tony Dingwall taking his place on a bench that for arguably the first time all season, looked to have an abundance of options sitting on it.

Rovers have an excellent record against the Diamonds, and they started well in this one, with Grant Gillespie outmuscling his opponent in the middle of the park and after spotting Chris Duggan sprinting clear of the defence, his through ball was just a touch too heavy, allowing Hutton to run out and gather ahead of the Rovers forward.

Conditions didn’t appear to be too blustery, but the ball was holding up in the breeze, which almost proved advantageous to Rovers in the fifth minute, when Gillespie’s high ball bent away from Hutton, allowing Benedictus to nod goalward, only for the ball to be hacked off the line.

Despite the solid start however, Airdrie took the lead in the eighth minute.

Leighton McIntosh and Kyle Wilkie combined to good effect, and with Wilkie surrounded by Rovers players but evading all challenges, he was eventually fouled by Ian Davidson, allowing McIntosh to blast his penalty low past Robbie Thomson.

With Arbroath already leading against Stenhousemuir, Rovers needed to respond, and Lewis Vaughan tried his luck from 20-yards in the 10th minute, but the ball bobbled harmlessly past Hutton’s right-hand-post.

Rovers had lost their way since the opening few moments though, with Airdrie now looking the likelier to get the game’s second goal, and Josh Edwards tried his luck from distance, with his effort ricocheting off a Raith defender and spinning out for a corner.

Rovers may have been playing against the wind, but they were there own worst enemies, with possession turned over all too often, while most forays into the final third were breaking down before anything tangible could be gleaned from it.

The front pairing of Liam Buchanan and Duggan were finding themselves far too isolated, and while Armstrong on the right, and Vaughan, who was coming in from the left were trying to get up to support, it wasn’t happening often enough, while Gillespie and Wedderburn were, either by accident or design, very much playing sitting roles.

Hutton had barely been tested in the opening half hour, although he did have to take evasive action in the 30th minute, when Duggan sent a shot goalwards, but his timid effort was easily gathered up.

Rovers first half performance was neatly summed up 10 minutes before the interval, when a Raith throw was met by virtually no movement at all, and when the throw was eventually taken, it was inevitably given straight back to the home side.

A second goal would have made for a very difficult second 45 for Raith, and Airdrie almost doubled their advantage just before the interval,  when incisive play from the home side allowed Scott Robertson a clear run on goal, but his shot was too close to Thomson who did well to save with his legs.

Rovers needed a prompt start to the second period, and while there was a notable uplift in the tempo, they were still struggling to create anything in the way of clear cut chances in the half’s early skirmishes.

They were making inroads though, and Daniel Armstrong was able to seize upon a rather wild passback to Hutton, fizzing a low cross across the box which Buchanan dummied for Duggan who saw his shot blocked.

Rovers were dominating possession by now, but Airdrie’s defensive unit were coping admirably with what was going on in front of them, with little or nothing getting in behind.

It looked like it was going to take something special to break Airdrie’s resistance, and Murray tried just that with a shot from distance in the 65th minute, but it sailed well over the bar.

With Rovers struggling in the wide areas and in desperate need of a spark, Nathan Flanagan replaced Buchanan, with the winger moving to the left, allowing Vaughan to go up front.

Airdrie had rarely been seen in this half, but with McIntosh up top they were very much a threat on the counter, and the forward was almost played in with around 25 minutes remaining, shrugging off a challenge before crashing a shot well over the bar.

Tony Dingwall then made his Raith debut when he replaced Armstrong, and the move would prove to be key, with the former Ross County man making an immediate impact on proceedings.

It was his excellent cross which picked out Duggan, and while his knock down looked ideal for Vaughan, the forward could only knock his effort from six yards over the bar.

It was a warning for the home side, but they failed to heed it, as Rovers grabbed the equaliser their play deserved in the 72nd minute

Again, Dingwall’s cross was the source, with the new signing sending in a great ball which Murray gleefully headed past Hutton to bring the scores level.

Rovers were now right back in it and looked the livelier of the sides, and only an incredible point blank save from Hutton denied Rovers taking the lead.

Callum Crane and Flanagan combined to great effect down the left, and from the latter’s low cross, Vaughan seemed certain to score from a few yards out, but Hutton instinctively flung up a glove to flick it over the bar.

Dingwall had made a huge difference since coming on, with his deliveries from wide areas proving a constant thorn to the Airdrie defence.

Rovers were knocking on the door now, and after Vaughan picked up the ball from deep, he drove straight at the heart of the Airdrie defence, before seeing his effort from outside the area excellently stopped by Hutton.

Despite having the better of the second period, Airdrie had the chance to win it in the final minute, when they were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area, and it took an excellent save from Thomson to deny Darryl Duffy, and he had to be at his best again from the corner, turning over a Sean Crighton header which appeared destined to ripple the net.

While a last minute Airdrie goal would have been harsh on McGlynn’s men, the home side were well worth a point, against a Rovers team which only started playing in the second period.

It’ll take a far better performance if Rovers are to progress past Dunfermline in next week’s Scottish Cup tie.


© Eddie Doig 2019



John McGlynn talked to RaithTV after the 1 - 1 draw at Airdrie

Live Updates

Welcome to today's away game against Airdrie. New signing Dingwall makes the bench and Duggan is in the starting line-up
Both sets of teams have emerged from the tunnel
Buchanan gets the game underway
First foul of the day Wedderburn the culprit
Gillespie tries to feed the ball through but no follow up from Raith. Keeper Hutton collects
Raith shooting towards the West stand
Free-kick Raith after a foul on Buchanan
Armstrong takes it, gets it in the mix but it's cleared
Penalty to Airdrie Wilkie brought down
McIntosh scores for Airdrie
Wilkie fed the ball through to McIntosh. Ball found its way back to Wilkie who was brought down in the box
Airdrie cross the ball into the box but doesn't trouble Thomson as he collects
Airdrie get the ball into the box, Davidson heads clear and Gillespie makes sure the ball is out the box
Airdrie are being forced to make an earlier substitution
Edwards tries for a shot and it hits off a Raith player corner Airdrie
Buchanan is flagged offside as Raith start to push forward again
Vaughan licks the ball up deep far side, gets the ball back into the box but no one there
Murray tries the ambitious pass into the box but Vaughan not quick off the mark
Buchanan tries to get the pass through to Duggan but it's poor and Airdrie intercept
Armstrong's pass through to Vaughan is too soft and again Airdrie clear
Edwards come close again, Davidson plays it well and the danger is eventually cleared
Play stopped as Wilkie receives treatment
The ball was launched, Duggan controls, goes forward has a shot but it doesn't trouble Hutton
Crane this time tries for a shot but again Hutton is untroubled
Gillespie is fouled as Wilkie tries to nip forward, ref blows. Free kick Raith
Solid challenge by Murray as Edwards pushes on
Buchanan plays a great ball on to Duggan but the latter is heavily marked and can't get to the ball
Wedderburn with a foul on Campbell
Thomson dives to the feet of Campbell as the ball hits the danger area
Duggan plays a fantastic ball into Armstrong who gets the ball into the box. Vaughan tries to control,turns and ball hits the side netting
Gillespie slow to release the ball as McIntosh steals the ball
Robertson comes close to scoring as he comes one on one with Thomson. Thomson saves with his feet
Play stopped as MacDonald recieves treatment
+1 free kick Raith as Davidson is fouled
+2 ref blows for half-time
Fairly equal but Airdrie just nipping it, sharper on the ball
Both teams have emerged for the start of the second half
Second half underway
Airdrie put on the early pressure. A cross though doesn't trouble Thomson as the ball sails off the park, goal kick Raith
Duggan just stays on side as he pushes forward. He cuts it back to Crane who gets the ball into the box
Roberston and Benedictus both stumble to the ground in the box. Airdrie fans cry penalty ref says goal kick as both players roll out the park
Airdrie with a bizzare pass back, it forces their keeper to head clear as Raith try to attack
Campbell pushes forward, releases the ball but Gillespie is there to mop up
Foul on Duggan, free kick Raith
Free-kick falls straight to the keeper
Benedictus clears an Airdrie advance
Davidson shields the ball as the ball rolls out for a goal kick
Duggan with the long cross pass to Armstrong. He tries to shoot but it doesn't trouble Hutton
Gillespie passes to Crane who crosses into the box. Ball cleared, corner Raith
Buchanan from an in ball tries to control and turn to shoot but struggles and bailout for a goal kick
Vaughan is bumped to the ground by Campbell, free-kick Raith
Raith about for a penalty as Vaughan falls in the box, it would have been a soft one if given
Murray tries a shot from a fair distance out but it's well over the bar
Airdrie sub off Wilkie on comes Carrick
Raith sub off Buchanan on comes Flanagan
Good ball forward from Flanagan to Duggan but it's a little to hard for Duggan to reach
Raith sub off Armstrong, on comes Dingwall
Unfortunately the match day app has gone down
Good ball from Dingwall as he controls and turns to pass to Duggan. He the passes to Vaughan he shoots but the ball goes over the bar
Raith equalise, a great ball from Dingwall to Murray who heads home
Raith are certainly looking a lot sharper with more urgency this second half
Dingwall again making his presence felt as he bundles an Airdrie player off the ball in the Raith box
Duggan booked as the heat is turned up on the pitch
Murray with a strong clearance as Airdrie push forward
Airdrie sub off Campbell on comes Duffy
Crane gets the ball through, eventually ball falls to Vaughan who hits the ball, keeper is sharp to save
O'Neil for Airdrie feeds a good ball into the box but Gillespie is sharp and clears
Dingwall gets the ball to the box hesitates to score passes to Duggan but the latter is challenged
Raith appeal for a penalty as from a corner Benedictus falls to the ground
Attendance today is 1140
Davidson with a challenge on Duffy, free kick Airdrie halfway line
Free-kick gets into the box, Davidson heads clear
Fantastic save from Thomson as he stretches up to get the ball
Davidson booked
Crane with the long cross to Vaughan who flicks on to Dingwall who feeds into the box, ball cleared for a corner
Freekick to Airdrie on edge of Raith box
Ball goes through the wall and Thomson makes an important out stretched save...corner
Full time..Airdrie 1 (McIntosh 9 min) Raith 1 (Murray 72 min)
A game of two halves for Raith. Better side second half. Dingwall came on to menace things up, good play from the new guy