Ayr manager Ian McCall calls for raucous Somerset Park

Ayr Utd manager Ian McCall.

Ayr Utd manager Ian McCall.

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By CRAIG P STEWART

The play-off final second leg is delicately poised after a 1-1 draw in the first leg, with McCall saying: “I said when I took this job on 16 months ago that I wanted to have Somerset Park rocking. The ground gained a great reputation for being extremely buoyant during a number of high-profile cup ties over the past 20 years and I wanted to bring that back.

“This has the potential to be a fantastic day as Stranraer will bring over 500 fans and there will be over 3000 in total creating a cracking cup final atmosphere.

“Hopefully that will help push us through.”

McCall knows that his side are a tad fortunate to be going into the second leg level as he explained: “Brian Gilmour’s injury-time tackle on Jamie Longworth along with Greg Fleming’s save stopped us going two behind just before we scored. A 2-0 defeat would have made it difficult to recover but now it is all to play for.”

Stranraer manager Brian Reid will continue to go wide to help his side win promotion. He said: “Andy Stirling was key in the first leg and I am sure that he can be again. We have him going at teams on one wing and Willie Gibson going at them on the other. Either one can play on the right or the left so we can swap them over so we will leave Ayr guessing over the way we will start.”

Reid had a lot of empathy with his Hibs counterpart Alan Stubbs this week after his side were denied a penalty for handball in midweek.

The Stair Park boss said: “Hibs should have had a spot-kick when David McCracken handled at Easter Road and like us ended up with a draw. I could not believe that Hibs were not given a penalty and then 24 hours later I could not believe that we did not get one when Ross Docherty handled.

“Our one did not get the attention that the Hibs one did but I agreed with a lot that Alan said afterwards and hopefully it will not be a factor in the outcome.

“It was really disappointing and that incident plus the last-gasp goal sums up how our luck has been against Ayr this season. Hopefully we will get a break in this game.”

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