Airdrie boss Ian Murray admitted his side 'escaped' with a 1-1 draw in their Championship play-off semi-final first leg against Cove Rangers at the Balmoral Stadium.

Murray says he's disappointed with the performance but happy to still be in the tie, as they head into the second leg at New Broomfield on Tuesday night.

But he says a continuation of the Diamonds' recent form should see them through to the final.

"I felt it was a very close game, the weather made it very difficult for both sides with the wind and the rain," said Murray.

"Probably both teams didn't play to their best capabilities, but we're quite happy to get out of there with a draw, because I felt Cove, as the home team, were a wee bit better than us.

"They had a couple more chances, and on another day it could have been 2-1 to them, so we go away and recover for Tuesday.

"It's a mixed bag for us; we're happy to get out of there at 1-1, happy to be in the tie, but disappointed with our performance."

The Diamonds took the lead 10 minutes into the second half when Paul Paton found Callum Gallagher and his cross/shot deflected off Ross Graham and looped over Stuart McKenzie in the Cove goal.

Airdrie had a gilt-edged chance to double that lead six minutes later when a good move was ended with Dale Carrick firing wide of an open goal from six yards.

Cove made the visitors pay for that in 66 minutes when they drew level. Mitch Megginson made his way to the right bye-line and when his cut-back was fired towards goal by Rory McAllister, former Airdrie star Leighton McIntosh pounced to smash the ball into the left corner.

Airdrie players celebrate Callum Gallagher's opener at Cove
Airdrie players celebrate Callum Gallagher's opener at Cove

Both sides had chances to take the lead, with McAllister seeing a shot superbly pushed over the top right corner by Max Currie and then hitting the post with a shot, while at the other end Kyle Connell sent a lobbed effort inches wide of the right corner from 25 yards, with McKenzie stranded.

Murray says Carrick will recover from the miss, but it's chances like those that semi-finals can hinge on and the situation changes very quickly.

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He said: "That's what happens. They went up the park five or six minutes later and scored, and we had a chance to bury this game.

"The tie wouldn't have been over, but the game would have been, and we might have added a third if they had to come out a little bit - but that's the way it goes.

"But Dale is normally very reliable, he will recover from that no problem, and we have a chance on Tuesday now.

"We know what we need to do - another home win takes us into the final, and that's the bottom line, now.

"We do need to create more, but as I say, conditions today didn't help us at all, and on Tuesday it will be different.

Dale Carrick missed a gilt-edged opportunity that would have put Airdrie 2-0 ahead, and instead Cove levelled shortly after
Dale Carrick missed a gilt-edged opportunity that would have put Airdrie 2-0 ahead, and instead Cove levelled shortly after

"It's a bigger pitch, our home territory, we'll be ready for a midweek game and there is all to play for.

"Being at home on Tuesday could be very important as long as we use it to our advantage, because we have a good home record now.

"We have good confidence, it's another game undefeated - that's one defeat in ten and it all adds up.

"Away from home we're picking up points or a draw and at home we're winning our games.

"If we continue the trend, which we have done, then we'll go through, but we need to turn up and play better football, because Cove Rangers are a very good side and are very capable.

"That has been proven by their home form this season - but there are not many teams that have gone up there and won and drawn in quick succession like that, if any."

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