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  Airdrieonians vs Partick Thistle 15th July 2016  
 
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Airdrie kick off their Betfred Cup campaign against Partick Thistle this evening, and captain Marc Fitzpatrick says the Diamonds are relishing the challenge.

It seems like no time at all has passed since last season came to a conclusion with a superb 3-0 at Ayr United, who went on to win promotion, but much has changed in that short spell.

With head coach Eddie Wolecki Black making a phased return to the club following his illness, Kevin McBride has been promoted to first team coach as Airdrie begin life as a full-time outfit at their new Ravenscraig training base.

A large turnover in playing staff was also inevitable, and it's a very different Diamonds team that will take to the field for tomorrow's season opener.

Midfielder Fitzpatrick says the new Airdrie camp is a happy one.

"The mood has been great, there seems to be a good chemistry between all the boys.

"With the extra time we all spend together, we have bonded quicker as a team. Obviously there's also more time on the training field to work on the tactical side of the game as well as our fitness."

"We're all looking forward to the new season. The new cup format brings its own excitement with the group stage, and playing against a team from the Premiership is a great challenge to start us off!"

Alan Archibald's Partick Thistle finished ninth in last season's Ladbrokes Premiership, but their top-flight experience gives them the edge in the eyes of the bookmakers.

With a defence featuring ex-Airdrie loanee Liam Lindsay and new signing Ziggy Gordon, the Diamonds can expect a tough challenge to make their home advantage count.

Fitzy thinks recent results elsewhere have shown that anything is possible.

"Of course we can get something out of Fridays game, I think football this year - between Leicester and the Euros - has taught us that if you have the right work ethic and teamwork you can achieve anything.

"It's obviously going to be a very difficult game and one we will need to play at our best to get anything from, but we are certainly capable of it."

New signings Andy Ryan, Iain Russell, Joe Gorman, Ryan Conroy, James Daly and Kevin Schmidt will all be hopeful of making a competitive debut for the Diamonds.

As part of the new look League Cup format, tonight's match will be played to a finish. In the event of a draw, the match goes straight to penalty kicks with the winner taking two points.

Also in Group E with Airdrie and Thistle are Queen's Park, Stenhousemuir and Queen of the South.

The group winners automatically advance, and the four best runners-up across the group stages also go through to join Scotland's European representatives in the second round.

Referee Kevin Clancy takes charge of the Diamonds' season opener, for which admission prices are reduced to £12 for adults and £6 for concessions.

Please note, Partick Thistle fans will be seated in Sections A, B and C of the main stand. Entry for these sections is by turnstiles 1-4. The stadium bar will be open from 6pm for both sets of fans.

Concessions are over 60s, under 16s, students and disabled fans. (Disabled and Carer tickets are £6 in total and these should be pre-ordered).
 


 
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