Cove Rangers and Airdrieonians are even after leg one of the Scottish Championship play-off semi-final following a 1-1 draw at Balmoral Stadium.

The visitors were ahead after Ross Graham deflected a cross into his own net. Leighton McIntosh leveled the game for Cove Rangers to even the game up ahead of the second leg at the Penny Cars Stadium.

Cove Rangers v Hibernian - Betfred Cup Match

Paul Hartley’s side are level. (Photo by Ross MacDonald/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Airdrie almost took the lead on 28 minutes with a long throw by Kyle Connell finding Calum Gallagher but the forward couldn’t poke the ball past the stable Cove defence.  Ian Murray’s side did lead on 54 minutes with Paul McKay finding Gallagher and the forward’s cross was deflected by Graham into the net.

The deadlock opened the game up and Cove almost pulled things level soon after with Kieran Ngwenya pulling clear of the Airdrie forward line before bursting forward himself and pulling the trigger from 25 yards.

Paul Hartley’s side pulled level on 63 minutes after Mitch Megginson got into a dangerous area, finding Rory McAllister whose initial effort blocked before finding McIntosh. He had the simple task of guiding home into an empty net. 

Livingston v Airdrie - Betfred Cup

Murray’s Airdrieonians side were pegged back by Cove Rangers. (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Max Currie was enjoying a good afternoon between the sticks & with Cove in the ascendancy, the former Motherwell shot stopper having to be alert to turn around a stinging 25 yard effort from McAllister. The hosts almost won it late on with McAllister volleying off the bar. Here are three things we learned.

It’s only half time

The firs half was a tepid encounter but the game burst into life once Gallagher guided Airdrie in front. This allowed for a more open game with Cove possessing more of an urgency immediately after the opener, which showed with the equaliser soon after. It’s all to play for at the Penny Cars Stadium on Tuesday night.

Cove forward line exciting

The Cove Rangers forward line once they got the equaliser showed that they are exciting & difficult to defend against. They play a productive 4-2-3-1 with Megginson & McIntosh offering something different & tricky against the backline of Airdrie alongside the asset of McAllister, who is a serial goal scorer. 

Paul Paton offers experience to Airdrieonians

Airdrie were efficient in their attacking play but Paul Paton was a leader at the back for Airdrie, with the ex Dundee United midfielder showing his experience, commanding at all times.

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