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Football: DIAMONDS WON'T BE FROZEN OUT; Bell's First Division.

Byline: KENNY ROSS

SANDY Stewart last night insisted Airdrie must get three points against CLYDE today if they are to stay in the promotion race.

The Diamonds have been frozen out of action by their recent batch of call-offs. But the Lanarkshire side still have two games in hand and Stewart is adamant there is no more room for slip-ups.

He said: "Christmas was a lot kinder to Partick than us so we're playing catch-up on them now.

"There's no doubt the bad weather worked to their advantage as they were able to play their games and get the points on the board, whereas the pressure is all on us now.

"But we all know what's expected of us and we're confident we can peg back Thistle and return to the top of the league."

Airdrie add striker Chris Freestone, whose most recent club was Shrewsbury Town, to their squad as they visit Clyde.

Clyde have major injury problems with Pat Kane, David Hagan, Ritchie McCusker, Pat Keogh and Andy McClay among those sidelined but boss Allan Maitland is hopeful Jack Ross will be back.

RAITH have fixed up Robbie Henderson on loan from Kilmarnock.

He was previously with Leeds United and comes into the side for the visit to INVERNESS.

Assistant boss Kenny Black said: "The lad has been training with us and his one-month loan will give us the chance to have a look at him. "

Sean Dennis and Ross Matheson are still sidelined although Darren Henderson comes back in after injury.

Caley will be without injured striker Paul Ritchie but Bobby Mann returns to defence.

Manager Steve Paterson said: "We had a good cup result in midweek and a win will make it a good start to the year"

Leaders PARTICK THISTLE had to move fast yesterday to sort out a registration problem to allow Leon Constantine from Millwall make his debut today at FALKIRK.

He is on loan from the London club after their manager Mark McGhee recommended him to Thistle boss John Lambie.

But Lambie also got the shock news yesterday that striker Barry Elliot, who's been out with an injured knee, could be missing for the rest of the season.

Kevin Christie and Lee Wilkie come back in for the Bairns and Kevin McAllister and Mark Kerr get late fitness tests.

ST MIRREN will be without injured striker Paul McKnight as they face ROSS COUNTY.

Manager Tom Hendrie, still disappointed at their midweek cup exit, said: "We must be positive. We play well and are creating chances but we are simply not finishing them off.

"That is costing us. Now we must be positive. We have to win tomorrow and then continue that form to force our way back into the reckoning."

Ross County manager Neale Cooper will make a late decision on his line-up.

ARBROATH are without the suspended John McGlashan as they meet AYR UNITED.

Boss John Brownlie said: "I am looking for a good response from my players after suffering the disappointment of our defeat in the cup.

"We have a good record at home and it is up to us to get back to the kind of form which earned us that reputation."

Ayr manager Gordon Dalziel reported a clean bill of health. He added: "They have beaten us already this season but it is up to us to make sure that it will be a different score this time."

CAPTION(S):

FOCUSED: Sandy Stewart and Ian McCall
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 12, 2002
Words:578
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