Apr 27 2012 by Mike WIlson, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
DETERMINED Brian Reid insists Ayr United can beat the drop but asked: When will our cruel luck end?
And there was another crushing blow on Monday evening when Michael McGowan crocked his knee at training.
Eddie Malone, sent off in the 3-2 defeat at Hamilton, is banned for the final two games of the regular season.
Martyn Campbell is still sidelined while John Robertson and Gareth Wardlaw, who missed the Accies game, are scrambling to be fit for Saturday’s visit of bogey team Dundee.
Ayr haven’t beaten the Dens men in 12 league games since a 1-0 win in 1995.
Reaching the safety of eighth place is now outwith United’s control as they trail Raith by three points with an inferior goal difference.
But with Raith meeting bottom dogs Queen of the South on Saturday something has to give at the foot of the table.
Finishing second bottom would put Ayr into a play-off against the fourth top team in the Second Division, currently Airdrie United.
Boss Reid claimed: “Somebody up there doesn’t like us. The amount of bad luck we have had this season has been unbelievable and it always seems to be the back four.
“Any team in the world, even Manchester United or Barcelona, would suffer if they had to continually alter their defence like we have had to. Compare our fortunes to Raith who seem to get good luck all the time.”
By all accounts, Raith got a dodgy penalty in their 3-2 win at Falkirk.
They also got a soft spot-kick equaliser in injury time at Ross County and then staggered Ayr with a stoppage timeleveller at Stark’s Park last month.
Reid moaned: “Our luck surely has to change sometime. I have been pleased with the way we have been playing while the commitment is good.
“We have two games to go and need to win them both but yet again I am going to have to change the team.
“I am not even thinking of the play-offs. We are aiming for eighth place and that will guarantee safety.”
Reid was happy with the way Ayr played at Hamilton – but was left gutted by the last gasp goal which sent them to defeat.
Malone copped a first-half booking for punching the grass in frustration and then walked for a late tackle three minutes into the second-half.
Reid claimed: “It was a hard one to take. If we had kept 11 men on the park I am sure we would have won.
“Even with 10 men we battled away and I couldn’t ask for more.
“The sending-off was a huge blow. These are marginal decisions that can cost you relegation but we will keep fighting.
“After our cup runs, this can still be a good season for us, provided we stay up.”
Reid is now sweating that McGowan will shrug off the training ground blow that has left him a big doubt for Saturday.
He said: “His knee buckled as he went into a tackle and he screamed as he went down. It’s a worry and it will be later in the week before we know if he is OK.”
Reid is optimistic that Robertson will shake off his groin injury and take his place. If not, he would have to consider Andy Geggan who filled in as an emergency stopgap centre-half at Hamilton after Malone went off.
United’s player of the year function takes place in the Ally MacLeod hospitality suite on Saturday evening. Tickets, price £15, are available from the club.
Ayr are 11/8 to beat Dundee (7/5) with the draw 13/5 according to McBookie.com