RUTHLESS Airdrie swept aside Stranraer as the curtain came down on another season.
The Diamonds have had the upper hand over the Blues this campaign and made it 12 points out of 12, thanks to Leighton McIntosh’s hat-trick.
Stevie Farrell’s squad was stretched to the limit with no fewer than seven players unavailable for a variety of reasons.
Adam Cummins, Christopher McGowan, Ian Smith and David Brownlie were all sidelined through injury while Kyle Turner was suspended.
The loan duo of PJ Crossan and Joao Victoria were also unavailable for the final game of the campaign.
That meant a youthful looking bench which had a total of seven career appearances spread between Alistair McColm, Lewis Dunn, Jonny Baxter, Robbie Murray and Lyle Avci.
Stranraer had enjoyed plenty of the ball in the opening ten minutes but were cut open by a former Blue.
Dean Hawkshaw spent time on loan at Stranraer last year and his pass sent McIntosh towards goal.
The striker outpaced Andrew McDonald before firing a shot beyond Max Currie at a tight angle.
The home side were lacking that clinical touch in front of goal, which was typified by an impressive move ten minutes later.
Grant Anderson ran nearly the length of the park before putting in a low cross, which Innes Cameron could not quite reach.
Minutes later, Anderson stood up a cross for Cameron Elliott, who had come close in the opening two minutes.
The teenager scored in the last game at Stair Park but this time could only direct his header down and into the ground, which proved an easy take for David Hutton.
Ali McCann also had an effort on goal in what was his farewell appearance but the game was killed off before the break
Airdrie scored two goals in the final six minutes, with Declan Glass doubling the advantage.
The on-loan Dundee United man got the better of Connor McManus before smashing high beyond Currie at his near post.
As Stranraer tried to get back into the game they were caught out on the counter attack.
The Diamonds cleared a corner and found themselves with four men and only McManus and Currie to beat.
The goalkeeper stood tall to make the block from McIntosh but the ball rolled straight back to the frontman who made no mistake at the second attempt.
A comeback never looked likely and McIntosh completed his hat-trick – and sixth goal of the season against Stranraer – ten minutes after the restart.
Hawkshaw was again the provider with his corner finding the former Arbroath man to nod home a simple goal.
Farrell, who had already introduced McColm, brought on Baxter and Dunn and Stranraer got one back just after the hour.
Jamie Hamill’s corner found Innes Cameron and the striker’s header had enough on it to beat the man on the line.
None of the youngsters looked out of place and that was shown in a fine team move, which saw McColm flick on McDonald’s pass for McCann.
Unfortunately, the final effort lacked the necessary power and accuracy and drifted wide.
In the end, the Diamonds were comfortable winners on a day where Stranraer simply could not raise their game after their efforts in recent weeks.
Despite the disappointing result, the bigger picture is that League One football will again be played at Stair Park next term.
Stranraer: Currie, McDonald, McManus, Smith, Hamill, Lamont (McColm 46), McCann, Anderson, O’Keefe (Baxter 58), Elliott (Dunn 58), Cameron.
Not used: Murray and Avci.
Airdrieonians: Hutton, S McIntosh, MacDonald, Crighton, Millar, Cairns (Duffy 69), Stewart, Edwards (Campbell 46), L McIntosh, Hawkshaw, Glass.
Not used: McKenzie.
Referee: Gavin Duncan
Photos: Stranraer FC, Bill McCandlish