Callum Gallagher insists Airdrieonians will not deviate from the gung-ho strategy that has borne much fruit this term in tonight’s Lanarkshire derby – even with the stakes as high as they are.

Fans of the Diamonds certainly can’t complain about being bored this season. Across all competitions, Rhys McCabe’s side have banged in 97 goals in 44 games, conceding 64 along the way.

They host Hamilton at the Excelsior this evening in the first leg of the cinch Championship play-off final and they do so having to exercise the demons of the past. Six times Airdrie have reached a play-off final since the format was introduced; six times they have fallen at the final hurdle.

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Those previous failures might tempt some teams into playing it safe but Gallagher insists he and his team-mates will be going on the offensive tonight.

“My experience of the management team is that they believe in playing football the ‘right way’,” the striker explained. “They like to be aggressive, they don’t want to sit in.

“They would rather stick by their principles and lose than camp in and cling on. That’s not their style and with our ability and belief, we will be looking to take the game to Accies.

“We have the final on Wednesday and Saturday and we have shown we can score goals. We did well against Falkirk [Airdrie won the semi-final 7-2 on aggregate] and that is one thing the management team have done – we are potent going forward. We score goals, we can be ruthless and we seem to be peaking at the right time.

“We went through it last year where we could win games, but we were never quite as electric in front of goal. We didn’t often win by two or three, and in these games there is a different pressure.

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“If you get one, the crowd and the atmosphere can get to the other team and we showed that against Falkirk when we were 5-0 up at half-time. That possibly wasn’t just down to us playing well, it just shows how quickly these ties can get away from you.

“The spine of our team have been through this all three or four times. We are mentally ready, we know what we are getting into now and we are ready.”

Gallagher certainly won’t be shy of confidence against Hamilton. The 28-year-old comes into this contest fresh from receiving the PFA Scotland League One Player of the Year award – voted for by his peers in the third tier – and although he admits the prize was unexpected, he is encouraged to gain the league’s seal of approval for his displays over the course of the campaign.

“It’s a great feeling, specifically because it’s an award voted for by the players,” Gallagher added. “The fact that the guys voting from League One know how hard the season is, to do it again and again every Saturday.

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“You play nice stuff but then you also need to do the ugly side and battle for whatever you can. It’s a difficult season and to even be nominated on the shortlist of four was more than enough for me.

“I didn’t expect the award, it’s not who I would have voted for. But I am thrilled to bits with it. I am getting on in years but hopefully it’s a shot of belief in my own playing ability that I have lacked and I can use it to kick on again.”