Nov 26 2008 by Colin Paterson, Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
Airdrie United 0 Ross County 2
THERE was an air of depressing predictability about this result as a slick Ross County passed the Diamonds to death in their own backyard.
A football team can go one of two ways following a trophy triumph similar to that of Airdrie United’s against the Staggies at McDiarmid Park ten days ago.
The players can use their success at clinching silverware as a springboard to future glories.
Filled with confidence, their aim is to cause mayhem for all and sundry.
Alternatively, it can be a case of after the Lord Mayor’s Show.
Performance levels dip, it all becomes a bit lethargic and lacklustre culminating in a defeat that wipes the grins from fans’ faces.
At a freezing New Broomfield on Saturday, we were treated to the latter.
Diamonds boss Kenny Black must have saw this final scoreline coming after only a few minutes had elapsed.
His players struggled to stamp their authority on a contest County comfortably controlled.
The visitors would have felt right at home as they were given the freedom of Monklands to pick a completely out-of-sorts Airdrie apart and move the ball around the pitch with a sense of purpose.
And by the close of business they headed back up the A9 with three points locked away in the kit hamper thanks to a goal in each half from Airdrie native Sean Higgins and midfielder Ritchie Brittain.
Success was no more than what Derek Adams’ men deserved.
They outplayed Airdrie and showed more desire and determination to win.
In attack, they caused all sorts of problems thanks to their sharp passing and impressive movement.
At times, the Diamonds rearguard toiled and couldn’t keep up with their fleet-footed opponents.
“I thought Ross County deserved it from the first minute to the last,” said gaffer Black after the match.
“I have to say I was worried about a reaction like this from us. We were very poor throughout the whole of the game.
“Their movement and all-round play meant they deserved the three points.
“But we need to win these games and start picking up points sooner rather than later.”
Airdrie hit rock-bottom of the table on Saturday night courtesy of this defeat and surprise away wins for both Clyde and Morton.
However, the Diamonds were scheduled to travel to Cappielow last night to take on Ton and, as you read this, Black’s troops could be back up to eighth spot.
The players would have certainly needed no extra motivation.
Few gained pass marks for their displays against County so places in the first-team are up for grabs again.
“We were second-best all over the pitch and I haven’t a clue why that was,” commented gutted Diamonds midfielder Stephen McKenna.
“Our performances recently in general have been a concern.
“At the start of the season we were keeping clean sheets but now it has all gone to pot and we are conceding goals.”
This game might have turned out so differently had Simon Lynch’s shot ruffled the back of the net and not cannoned off the bar following some excellent work from Paul Di Giacomo.
County took the lead in the 34th minute of the match.
A spell of sustained pressure was rounded off in style when Higgins blasted a right-foot shot into the top corner of the net.
It could have been 2-0 within moments of the restart after Stephen Robertson’s clearance landed straight at the feet of Dutch hitman Dyron Daal who fired an effort off the bar.
Robertson made amends throughout the second half with some good saves as ruthless County raided at will but could do nothing to stop Brittain sealing the points in the 67th minute with a long-range drive.
The announcement of the match attendance only added to the gloomy atmosphere which enveloped New Broomfield with just 939 witnessing this disappointment.
It truly was a scandalous figure considering Airdrie won a cup last week and an embarrassment when Raith Rovers and Ayr United in the second division attracted 2229 and 1254 respectively for their games with Brechin City and East Fife.
Yes, times are hard financially for a lot of people and Christmas isn’t far away, but after last week’s heroics in Perth, the Diamonds players deserved a better return.
Mind you, it works both ways.
And the supporters who did turn up might have wandered down Craigneuk Avenue after the game muttering exactly the same thing.
Advertiser man of the match (3pts) - Stephen Robertson. Prevented County inflicting a heavy defeat. Scott McLaughlin (2pts), Matt Hazley (1pt).
Moment of the match: If only Lynch’s shot had hit the net and not the bar.
Airdrie: Robertson, Smith (McDougall 75), Donnelly, Nixon, Hazley, Cardle, McDonald, McKenna, McLaughlin, Lynch (Noble 72), Di Giacomo (Watt 72). Subs not used: Brown, Hollis(gk).
Ross County: Bullock, McCulloch, Dowie, Boyd, Keddie (Golabek 82), Strachan, Watt, Brittain, Scott (Morrison 90), Daal, Higgins (Winters 80). Subs not used: Gardyne, Soutar(gk).
Booked: Boyd, Daal, Scott.
Referee: Alan Muir.