Preview: Ayr United v St Mirren


St Mirren and Ayr United meet for the second time this season (first in league) tomorrow afternoon at Somerset Park as both sides look to pull themselves away from the bottom of the league.
The teams last met on 19th July when a stoppage time goal at the Paisley 2021 Stadium from Jack Baird gave Saints three points in a Group G match-up in the Betfred Cup. Despite the loss, The Honest Men edged Saints out on goal difference for a place in the last 16 of the tournament thanks to wins over Hamilton Academical, Edinburgh City and Livingston.
Life in the Ladbrokes Championship has been a bit tougher for Ian McCall’s side but to be fair they have met some of the more fancied sides for the promotion shake-up in the opening three league encounters. A 2-0 loss to Raith Rovers was followed by heavier defeats away to Queen of the South (4-1) and Dundee United (3-0). In between these games the Betfred Cup dream was ended in a closely contested tie against Aberdeen at Somerset Park as the Premiership side held on for a 2-1 win.
Ian McCall’s side has a nice balance of youth and experience with the likes of Brian Gilmour, Peter Murphy, Paul Cairney and Jamie Adams being viewed as the more traditional experienced players with games and seasons under their belts but some of the younger players are well beyond the breakthrough stage such as 19-year-old Alan Forrest who since making his debut three years ago has gone on to make 113 appearances to date with 25 goals to his name, 2 coming this season. Another is 22-year-old club captain Nicky Devlin who has lead the side well since he moved from Stenhousemuir two years ago, with the former Motherwell man homing in on 100 appearances.
Like Ayr, St Mirren don’t have to search for their league woes so far this season and they were added to last weekend losing 2-0 to Hibernian in Paisley. On the upside the injury situation looks to be clearing up with summer signings Ben Gordon and Gary MacKenzie both making outings for the under-20 side earlier this week and Rocco Quinn is back at training as he works his way back to full fitness, although tomorrow may be a game or so too early for them to return.
The sides last met on league business back on 17th April 2004 with St Mirren winning 4-1 in Paisley thanks to a brace from David van Zanten along with further goals from Brian McGinty and Simon Lappin, countering an earlier goal from soon-to-be Buddie Stewart Kean for the Honest Men.
With both sides down at the wrong end of the table there will be an urgency to get things into gear and a win for either side tomorrow will no doubt be a big boost as they look to get their seasons up and going.