Arbroath vs. Ayr United
Saturday 22nd February 2020. Kick-off 3pm
On Saturday, Ayr United make a long-awaited return to Championship action with an away trip to Arbroath. The Honest Men’s 1-1 draw at Firhill three weeks ago was our previous league outing prior to a narrow Scottish Cup defeat at the hands of St. Johnstone and last weekend’s postponement.
Both Ayr and Arbroath could have the opportunity to go second in the league table – if Inverness Caledonian Thistle are defeated by Dundee United in tonight’s (Friday) fixture at Tannadice. For Mark Kerr’s men the game kicks off a busy schedule of seven games in three weeks.
Opponents: Dick Campbell’s side are enjoying an impressive season in the Championship after succeeding the Honest Men as League 1 champions last year. The Angus club occupy the final promotion play-off spot, albeit both fifth placed Dundee and Dunfermline have a game in hand.
The Red Lichties have won their last three Championship games although sandwiched between wins at home to Partick Thistle and away to leaders Dundee United was a Scottish Cup replay reverse at the hands of Falkirk. Last weekend saw Arbroath defeat Queen of the South 2-0 at Gayfield.
January signings Craig Wighton, on loan from Hearts, and Dale Hilson have made an immediate impact with Scotland U21 striker Wighton netting the winning goals against Thistle and Dundee United and ex-Forfar frontman Hilson scoring against former club Queen of the South on Saturday. Nineteen-year-old Logan Chalmers, added on loan from Dundee United, further strengthens Arbroath’s attacking options.
Team News: Craig Moore, Andy Geggan, Andy Murdoch and Ross Docherty are out with injuries. Aaron Muirhead misses out through suspension.
Mark says: “It was disappointing to have the game called off last week so we had the boys in and trained on Saturday and training has been at a really high quality all week, everyone is desperate to get back out there. We now have a really busy period of games however players will always say they prefer games to training so they are looking forward to it. It gives us an opportunity to use the squad and with a couple of good results early we could really build up the momentum.”
Ayr United: LLWWD
Head to head (at Gayfield):
Ayr United wins – 21
Draws – 16
Arbroath wins – 15
United are unbeaten on their last six visits to Gayfield (four wins and a draw).
Saturday will be the 100th league meeting between the sides.
Previous Meeting: United Midfielder Stephen Kelly has netted in both meetings between the sides this season. In September, his 27th minute strike rounded off a 3-0 win for the Honest Men at Gayfield after Alan Forrest’s quickfire double. In December, his wind assisted corner opened the scoring at Somerset Park but Michael McKenna’s penalty levelled the scores in difficult conditions.
Referee – Steven Kirkland
Assistant Referee 1 – Kylie Cockburn
Assistant Referee 2 – George King
£18 – Adults
£10 – Concessions (Child, Students, OAP 65+, Disability Entry with a free carer)
£20 – Adult and Child Gate