Celtic loan star receives rave review after winning Airdrie winner at Peterhead as Diamonds go 10 unbeaten


Airdrie boss Ian Murray has hailed Celtic loanee Jon Afolabi for ‘pulling his side out of a hole’ at Peterhead with his first goal for the Diamonds in their 1-0 win at Balmoor.

The 22-year-old joined the club on loan from the Hoops earlier this month and he received rave reviews from his gaffer after a key contribution which extended Airdrie’s unbeaten streak to 10 games in League One.

Striker Afolabi scored the game’s only goal after 28 minutes when he headed home from Rhys McCabe’s backhand to keep them within striking distance of league leaders Cove Rangers.

And Murray said: “Jonathan had a good first start for us.

“It was his first for a while, but it was a great finish from the big man.

“He’s going to take time to adapt to our style of play and our system, but he’s definitely a handful and his finishing in the box has been so calm.

“I’m delighted for him and I’m delighted for the team that we brought in someone to help us out and pull us out of a hole at a very important stage of the season.

“Performance goes out the window in these games, you have to win the game, and it was a very difficult playing surface for us today.

“It looked good from above, but it was actually very soft and there wasn’t much bounce on the ball.

Jon Afolabi in action for Airdrie

“We struggled to adapt to that, but it’s another game won.

“We’re still unbeaten in 2022 and that’s 10 games in a row.

“It’s a very valuable three-pointer at a very difficult place to come.”

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The Diamonds remain five points behind leaders Cove in title contention after beating Falkirk 2-0.

It was a good day for Airdrie elsewhere as third-placed Montrose drew 1-1 with Clyde and fourth-placed Queen’s Park got the same scoreline at East Fife.

And that now leaves Airdrie six points ahead of Montrose, at the very least strengthening their hold on a play-off spot.

Murray added: “We have now created a big gap to fifth place and our first objective was to get out of the play-off positions.

Ian Murray, Airdrie coach

“It would take something remarkable now for us not to be there, but we will stay focused and keep trying to win games.

“All we can do is win our games and what happens, happens.

“As long as we won today we knew it was a day we couldn’t really lose in terms of position because something had to give in Cove v Falkirk and Queen’s Park and Montrose drew.

“We’re just creating gaps now, which is great.

“Hopefully after next week we can go into the last quarter full steam ahead, win as many games as possible and see what happens.”

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