Angus Hyde UWS News
After a stunning victory away at Tannadice on Friday, Ian McCall’s Ayr United look to extend their lead at the top of the Scottish Championship as they host Inverness CT at Somerset park.
The Honest Men pulled out a top-drawer performance against Dundee United, slapping the home side 5-0 in the highly anticipated game, putting even more pressure on the east-coast outfit as their season continues to deteriorate. Ayr will look to their coveted frontman Lawrence Shankland for inspiration after his outstanding four-goal haul at the weekend as he took his tally to 26 strikes in 23 games.
Fourth-placed Inverness will be hoping to improve on their disappointing result from the weekend as they narrowly lost to Falkirk 3-2 in the highlands. Falkirk’s Scott Harrison broke Caley fans’ hearts as he slotted the winner three minute into stoppage time, ending the home side’s unbeaten run in the league. They face a tough challenge as they travel south, with the Honest Men’s unbeaten home record standing in their way, as well as the booming confidence that the Ayrshire outfit have coming out of their recent form.
Players to watch:
Ayr legend Michael Moffat has proved over the last two seasons that he is still a top quality player, despite being moved behind Shankland instead of his preferred number nine role. However, the veteran has grown into his new role, chipping in with five assists and two goals in the Championship, offering a commanding and creative presence in the final third of the pitch for Ian McCall’s men. He will be looking to act as the final link to Shankland, Forrest and McDaid and drive them on to another crucial victory to keep them on top of the league.
Inverness’ captain and left back stalwart Carl Tremarco will be a crucial figure as he takes his team to Somerset as he will be dealing with the pace and flair from Ayr’s front three. A stone wall in defence on his day, he will be looking to lift his team’s spirits following their first defeat of the season and inspire them to victory against the league leaders.
What’s next for Ayr United?
Ayr’s outstanding form this season has turned many doubters into believers as they sit top of the league that they were so easily punted out of just two years ago, prompting many Ayr fans to start asking “the what if” question regarding a return to the Scottish Premiership, which would be their first time in Scotland’s premier division in over forty years.
There are two main factors at play regarding their potentially historic season, the first being wether they can continue to perform to the high level they have been showing, and the second is wether they can keep a hold of star-striker Lawrence Shankland.
The forward has been the driving force behind this Ayr team after he arrived in 2016, bringing in a mammoth 53 goal haul in just two years. If the Honest Men can keep a hold of their goal-scoring striker, and keep their star players behind him such as Liam Smith, Jamie Adams and Michael Rose playing well, the dream is well and truly alive for Ayrshire’s Black and White going into the new year.