Airdrie hit five first-half goals before bouncing back from a red card for their goalkeeper to thrash Falkirk 6-2 in the first leg of their cinch Championship play-off semi-final.
Falkirk finished one place above Airdrie in second spot in League One but John McGlynn’s side suffered a disastrous opening period in Lanarkshire.
Gabby McGill hit the crossbar not long before setting up Justin Devenny to fire an eighth-minute opener and the Diamonds were three up inside 16 minutes after player-manager Rhys McCabe smashed in a free-kick and Callum Smith netted after charging down a clearance and playing a one-two with McGill.
Former Bairns defender Aaron Taylor-Sinclair headed his first Airdrie goal in the 31st minute and 10 minutes later he flicked a corner into the path of Callum Fordyce to make it 5-0.
Falkirk pulled one back in the 61st minute when Coll Donaldson headed home and they got a further lifeline four minutes later when Airdrie keeper Josh Rae was sent off for bringing down Rumarn Burrell.
Substitute goalkeeper David Hutton came on and immediately had to pick the ball out of the net when Kai Kennedy’s free-kick was deflected past him.
But there was more drama to come. Falkirk forward Jordan Allan was sent off in stoppage-time for a foul on Hutton and McCabe netted a penalty at the other end after Ben Stanway was brought down in the box.