Sep 8 2011 By Colin Paterson
IRN-BRU SECOND DIVISION:
AIRDRIE v ALBION ROVERS
New Broomfield, 3pm
PAUL MARTIN believes Jimmy Boyle's achievements in the first year of his managerial reign at Airdrie have been "swept under the carpet".
The Albion Rovers gaffer paid tribute to his dugout colleague ahead of his side's derby-day showdown with the Diamonds at New Broomfield tomorrow.
Last summer, Boyle was asked to build a team from scratch, with an emphasis placed on youth, after the club reverted to part-time status following relegation from the First Division.
But the Diamonds gaffer rose to the challenge and, as well as guaranteeing league survival and mounting a late run towards the promotion play-offs, earned the club a tidy cash sum through the sale of teenager Tony Watt to Celtic.
"What Jimmy has achieved in his time as manager so far has been brushed under the carpet," Martin told Advertiser Sport.
"That was a young side Airdrie had last season but he got them playing good football and they had exciting players.
"He’s constantly playing bounce games and constantly bringing guys in on trial. He isn’t truly valued for what he has achieved so far. He looks constantly for players and works harder than anyone in that area.
"It’s also been forgotten that a lad he had [Gary MacKay-Steven] is now playing every week at Dundee United. He was also the guy that brought through a youngster the club then sold to Celtic.
"There wasn’t a Saturday last season when their boys didn’t die for the jersey and the fans accept that."
Friendships will be put aside for 90 minutes as both teams chase vital league points but Martin is looking forward to a post-match catch-up and thinks Boyle has the ability to manage at a higher level.
"I have a lot of respect for Jimmy," he commented. "He’s a really nice guy and I know that win, lose or draw, Jimmy will be the same and not a lot of managers are like that.
"Some managers are only OK if they win.
"I think Jimmy has the potential to go on in the game as a manager. He’s also got a good backroom team behind him in Alan Lawrence and Paul Jack."
Rovers have selection problems ahead of tomorrow's trip to Craigneuk Avenue with midfielder Ryan McStay serving a one-match suspension.
Left-back Barry Russell (appendix surgery) is out for up to six weeks so Chris Boyle may be asked to deputise. Centre-backs Mick O'Byrne (cartilage trouble) and Todd Lumsden (calf) will be assessed before kick-off.
In attack, John Gemmell is in the matchday squad with Rovers to decide tomorrow if Ghanaian forward Joseph Acquah is fit enough to return after a hamstring strain.
The manager must decide who to select between the sticks with Derek Gaston and Chris Fahey both available to play.
Tomorrow's referee: Mike Tumilty.