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FOOTBALL: Golden oldie Nipper back to help Airdrie.

Byline: IAN ORR

FORMER Airdrie hero Alan Lawrence has returned to the club in a bid to help their faltering promotion charge.

He first signed for the Diamonds 13 years ago and joined again last night after being freed by Cowdenbeath.

But his arrival was clouded by the news that powerful midfielder Neil McFarlane will be on the sidelines for up to eight months with a cruciate ligament injury.

Manager Ian McCall said last night: "Neil is really down and it is a tragedy for the lad. What a season it's been - we have all our financial problems and now this.

"But we will continue to fight and I have brought Alan back as we need players to cover. He will not be getting paid much but we are glad to have him."

Lawrence, 39, said: "I still live in the town and Airdrie is special to me."

McCall has other injury worries for the trip to Inverness Caledonian Thistle, with Sandy Stewart and Paul Ronald out but keeper Allan Ferguson comes back in goal.

And defender Stewart last night vowed the team were up for the biggest fight of their lives in their promotion-or-bust scenario.

He said: "At this stage none of us know what's going to happen after our contracts end on April 27 but we won't be giving up without a big battle.

"The future may be in doubt but one thing that's certain is that all players love winning things and that's something that can never be taken away.

"Even if we win the league but are denied the chance to play in the SPL, we will still have 2002 First Division championship medals to look back on in 20 years."

Caley boss Steve Paterson, who will make few changes, said: "It is important to get points at home."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 30, 2002
Words:303
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