Callum Smith scored against his former club Hamilton to give Airdrie a 1-0 win in the first leg of their cinch Championship play-off final at the Excelsior Stadium.
Smith, who joined Airdrie from Hamilton in 2021, struck early in the second half to help his side into a slender advantage before Saturday’s second leg at the ZLX Stadium.
Hamilton, relegated from the Scottish Premiership two seasons ago and bidding to avoid relegation to the third tier for the first time since 2004, were first to threaten through on-loan Hearts midfielder Connor Smith.
Connor Smith, playing against his brother Callum, fired an early angled shot inches wide, while Airdrie went close through Callum Fordyce’s half-volley, which was turned away by Hamilton goalkeeper Jamie Smith.
Accies threatened again through Connor Smith before the break when his shot from outside the box was well saved by Airdrie goalkeeper Joshua Rae.
Airdrie, buoyed after sealing a 7-2 aggregate play-off semi-final win over Falkirk on Saturday, edged ahead in the 56th minute when Callum Smith produced a neat near-post finish after a fine run into the penalty area.
Accies defender Daniel O’Reilly went closest to an equaliser when he headed a corner narrowly over in stoppage time, while Airdrie defender Craig Watson was sent off late on after his foul on Connor Smith earned him a second yellow card.