Clyde match preview

Match Preview
Ayr United vs. Clyde
William Hill Scottish Cup – Round 5
Saturday 11th February 2017

On Saturday, attentions turn to the Scottish Cup when Clyde are the visitors to the Somerset Park with a place in the quarter-finals at stake. For both clubs it is a welcome diversion from the league: Ayr are without a win in their last 13 Championship games, while Clyde’s recent League 2 form comprises two draws and six defeats.

Both clubs were in the capital last weekend, United earning a creditable draw against the Scottish Cup holders Hibs at Easter Road and Clyde played out a goalless draw with SPFL new boys Edinburgh City.

Ayr have reached the fifth round of the competition with wins over Brechin City and Queen’s Park but needed a replay and penalty shoot out to overcome the Spiders. Clyde beat Brora Rangers in the Highlands in the second round then thumped Arbroath 5-0 at home. The Bully Wee also needed a replay to overcome Stirling Albion in the previous round, David Gormley netting a 39 minute hat-trick to see off the Binos in a match that saw Clyde keeper John Gibson sent off.

Clyde are three-times winners of the Scottish Cup, lifting the trophy in 1939, 1955 and 1958. They last reached the quarter-finals in 2005. United, meanwhile, are looking for a first last-eight appearance since 2012.

The Opposition: Clyde include a number of familiar faces amongst their ranks, with no fewer than five former Ayr United players. Striker David Gormley scored 7 goals in 53 appearances for United between 2008-2009 after being signed from Glenafton. Scott McLaughlin and Chris Smith were both part of the squad that won promotion with the club in 2011; Jon-Paul McGovern took over the captain’s armband from Scott midway through season 14/15 and scored the equalising goal in the match against Forfar Athletic that saw the Honest Men avoid relegation from League 1. Sean Higgins’s Ayr career lasted just 8 minutes: the forward’s loan spell from Falkirk in 2012 was curtailed through injury.

Former St. Johnstone and Morton striker Peter MacDonald will be one to watch. ‘Peaso’ is Clyde’s top goalscorer this season with 12 goals;

Team News: Farid El Alagui is cup tied and there are doubts over Craig Moore and Robbie Crawford.

Ian McCall says: “It’s a huge game for us. We have to be at our best right from the start and make sure we have a pace and tempo to our game from the off. There is potentially a big prize waiting in the next round for both teams so its a massive game and we want to make sure we are in that Quarter Final draw. I have watched Clyde and they are a good side with experienced players, a lot of ex Ayr players which always adds an extra spice to a match. We need our fans to get behind us like they did at Easter Road.”

Head-to-Head:
Ayr United wins – 50
Draws – 33
Clyde wins – 53

There have been five meetings between the sides in the Scottish Cup, with Clyde winning through on four occasions – in 1953, 1960, 1962 and 1997. United’s win came in 1972. In 1953, a crowd estimated at 20,000 (with 7,000 travelling supporters) were entertained by a eleven-goal thriller as Clyde beat Ayr 8-3.

Last meeting: Clyde were 2-0 winners at Broadwood in July 2014, the last time the side met. The Challenge Cup match was Barry Ferguson’s first in charge of the Bully Wee. Scott McLaughlin and Jon-Paul McGovern both lined up for the Honest Men in the fixture. Scott McManus and John Sweeney were goalscorers in the first 30 minutes.

Clyde’s last trip to Somerset Park was in the League Cup in 2012. After a goalless first half there were seven goals after the break six of which were in favour of the home side.

Match Officials:
Referee – Stephen Finnie
Assistant Referee 1 – Sean Carr
Assistant Referee 2 – Michael Banks
Fourth Official – David Munro

Admission:
Adults – £12
Concessions – £6

Clyde supporters will be housed in West Stand and West Enclosure, entering via turnstiles 9 and 10.

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Farid signs for United

Farid El Alagui tonight signed a deal with Ayr United until the end of this season.

Manager Ian McCall said :”It’s a deal we have been working on for some time and are delighted to get it finalised. Dunfermline offered him a new deal however Farid wanted more game time and chose to look elsewhere. He had other options however he has chosen to come here. He is the kind of striker that I have been looking for. Big, strong, aggressive and he is a great type of boy.

Farid will play as a centre forward and be a target for us. He will play within the width of the 18 yard box and we will be looking for him to get on the end of the chances we have been creating. He is very experienced and has played for some good clubs and will be a great addition to our squad.

We are very thankful to the extra money that has been brought in by the AU500 fund as without that it would have been very difficult to bring Declan and Farid to the club.”

Farid is cup tied for Saturdays match after playing in a previous round for Dunfermline however he started training tonight and will be in the squad for the game at Dumbarton a week on Saturday.”

El Alagui, 31, came to Scotland in 2011 when joining Falkirk. Since then he has played for Brentford, Dundee United, Hibernian and most recently Dunfermline.

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Hibernian 1 Ayr Utd 1

Hibernian 1 v 1 Ayr United
The Honest Men earned a morale boosting point at Easter Road in a game in which United could so easily have won. Robbie Crawford gave Ayr a sensational start with an amazing Messi like 4min goal before Cummings equalised late into the second half for the Hibees.

It was Ayr who had the first chance of the game and they took it through Crawford. The midfielder collected the ball midway inside the Hibernian half and drove into the box before weaving past 3 players and sliding the ball just underneath the arms of Laidlaw and into the net.

The home side failed to put Ayr in any real danger until 27 mins when a 25-yards curling freekick by Keatings was palmed wide by Fleming. Hibs followed this up on 31 mins when a Humphrey’s shot from the edge of the box was deflected into the path of Boyle who saw his shot from a tight angle smothered by Fleming.

Just 4 mins later Boyle was denied again by the Ayr keeper. Keatings cut the ball across to the striker but his shot was excellently blocked by Fleming.

Hibernian were beginning to put United under real pressure and on 36 mins Shinnie should have done better when he put his diving header, from a McGinn cross, well over the bar.

Ayr almost started the 2nd half as they had the first when in the first minute Crawford received the ball on the edge of the area and cut into the box but could only direct his shot over the bar from a promising position.

48 mins gone and Boyle again squandered another chance to level the game for Hibs. The striker got on the end of a Fyvie cross and his header went high and wide with the goal beckoning.

There was a moment of controversy on 50 mins when it appeared that McGregeor intentionally handled the ball inside his own box but referee Allan waved play on much to the frustration of the Ayr players.

Hibernian profligate attitude again saw them turn up the chance to equalise on 67 mins when McGregor met a loose ball inside the box but launched the ball high over the bar from close range.

On 74 mins, just when it looked like the home side would be frustrated in their attempts to breach the United defence they finally made the breakthrough. Keatings swung in a beautiful ball from the right into the box where it was met by Cummings who nodded the ball past Fleming to draw his side level.

With just 3 mins to go, Cummings came close again when he curled a shot goalwards from 20 yards but Fleming confidently palmed the ball away. From the resultant corner, Holt tried his luck with a powerful header but this was cleared off the line by Gilmour and the game finished 1-1.

On Saturday, Ayr take a from league action as they welcome Clyde to Somerset in the 5th round of the Scottish Cup.

Hibernian
Laidlaw, Gray, Fontaine, McGinn, Fyvie, Stevenson, Boyle, Keatings, Shinnie, McGregor, Humphrey. Substitutes Gallacher (GK), Bartley, Holt, McGeough, Graham, Cummings, Crane.

Ayr United
Fleming, Devlin, Boyle, Crawford, McDaid, Harkins, Cairney, Adams, Meggatt, Balatoni, Docherty. Substitutes Hart, Gilmour, Rose, Murphy, Forrest, Wardrope, McGuffie.

Referee: Crawford Allan
Attendance: 14349
Match Report: AUmedia

Hibernian match preview

Match Preview
Hibernian vs. Ayr United
Ladbrokes Championship
Saturday 4th February 2017

Ayr United will hope lightning can strike twice on Saturday when they travel to Edinburgh to face league leaders Hibernian. The Honest Men are the only side to have left Easter Road with 3 points this season, after they shocked the Scottish Cup holders in September.

Hibernian boss Neil Lennon scooped the Manager of the Month award this week after seeing his side to a fourth consecutive league win and a thumping 8-1 victory over Junior side Bonnyrigg Rose in the Scottish Cup. The Hibees have won their last two league matches 1-0, away from home against Queen of the South and Dumbarton to open up an eight point lead over Dundee United.

Team News: Everyone is fit and available.

Ian McCall says: “We thoroughly enjoyed our last visit to Easter Road, its the reason we worked so hard to get promoted to play in stadiums like this. It’s a great place to play football, there will be a big crowd and a great atmosphere so we want to enjoy it and put in a really good performance. It will be incredibly difficult, they have a squad that would probably be top 6 in the Premiership so it shows the task we have in front of us however we have done it before so there is nothing to say we cant get a result. They might be outnumbered but our fans will make plenty of noise so hopefully we will give them another reason to celebrate.”

Head-to-Head (at Easter Road):
Ayr United wins – 10
Draws – 6
Hibs wins – 32

Saturday will be the 100th competitive fixture between Ayr United and Hibernian. This total includes a Victory Cup match in 1919 and a two-legged Anglo-English Cup tie in 1977.

Last meeting: Goals from John McGinn and a Martin Boyle double saw Hibs leave Somerset Park with a 3-0 win in the last match between the sides at the start of November.

On this day: in history Ayr United have played 14 times and have a record of W4, D4, L6. United’s last victory on February 4th was against Dunfermline Athletic in 1961 at Somerset Park that ended 4-1 to the home side.

Match Officials:
Referee – Crawford Allan
Assistant Referee 1 – Andrew McWilliam
Assistant Referee 2 – Chris Phillips

Admission:
Adults £22
Concessions £12
Ayr supporters will be able to purchase tickets from the South Stand ticket pod on match day from 1pm.

Sean McKenzie returns to Ayr

Sean McKenzie today signed a deal with Ayr United until the end of the season.

Manager Ian McCall said :” Sean is a player we have always thought highly of since I came to the club. Unfortunately he had some personal issues however we always kept in touch. We took our time with him, kept an eye on what he has been doing and he is someone we think has something to contribute in and around the first team.

We have signed him initially until the end of the season but that will almost certainly become longer. Sean could be the next breakthrough from our academy and is someone we have very high hopes for.

He has started to train with the first team immediately and will still be involved in some under 20s games.”

Welcome back Sean!