East Fife did not offer much in response although Pat Slattery had an early effort saved by Rohan Ferguson.
Airdrie responded and Ryan put them in front with a left-foot shot from Kieran MacDonald’s pass.
Ryan scored his second from the penalty spot after 51 minutes after Chris Kane had been shown a straight red card.
He completed his hat-trick in 59 minutes after Iain Russell set him up and Russell added a fourth.
Brechin boosted their hopes with a narrow 1-0 win over Albion Rovers at Glebe Park. Paul McLean headed the only goal in the opening minute of the second half when he met Ally Love’s corner.
A last-minute header from Kevin Cawley gave Alloa Athletic, already assured of second place, a 1-0 win over Stranraer.
Stenhousemuir hit Queen’s Park’s play-off hopes and lifted themselves off the bottom with a 2-0 win at Hampden. On-loan Hibs striker Oli Shaw wasted a great chance to put Stenhousemuir in front midway through the first half but made amends shortly afterwards, then netted again early in the second half. Stenhousemuir finished with ten men when Kieran Miller was sent off.
Champions Livingston sent Peterhead to the bottom with a 4-1 win at Almondvale. Liam Buchanan opened the scoring with his 27th goal of the season. Danny Mullen almost scored shortly afterwards, but his shot thumped against the crossbar.
Scott Pittman was more accurate after 21 minutes as Livingston moved 2-0 in front after Rafa De Vita cut the ball back. There was no let-up from Livingston and Josh Mullin added a third before half-time.
Jamie Redman pulled a goal back but Danny Mullen added a fourth.