FRASER BRYDEN admitted he was delighted to come off the bench and play a crucial role as Ayr picked up a vital three points on Friday night.

Bryden replaced Scott Tomlinson at half-time during the clash with Airdrieonians – and it was the teenager’s header that set up Anton Dowds for the leveller just three minutes after the interval.

The Diamonds led at the break through Josh O’Connor’s strike, but Dowds’ equaliser was followed just three minutes later by captain Sean McGinty’s match-winning header as Ayr secured a crucial three points.

The weekend's results saw Ayr move up to seventh in the Championship and to within three points of the promotion play-offs.

Speaking to Ayr United TV, Bryden said: “I thought the boys were terrific tonight. Even in the first half, when we went in at half time a goal down, there were plenty of positives to take from the first half, and at the start of the second half we came out of the traps flying and we defended really well for the rest of the game. It’s a big three points.”

The win was the perfect pick-me-up for Ayr after the hugely disappointing loss at home to Queen’s Park six days earlier – with Bryden revealing that Ayr’s players reaped rich rewards by sticking to their game plan.

“We knew how important the game was,” Bryden continued, “and not just in terms of the league table.

“We had to show a reaction after last week. We let Queen’s Park come here and control the game far too easy and play the way they want to play, and we weren’t getting close enough to them and putting enough tackles in, so that was one of the instructions coming into the game tonight.

“We had to get right up against Airdrie from the get-go and we did that. We knew we’d get chances – we got chances in the first half, we didn’t take them, so it was just a case of carrying that on and getting into the right areas.”

Next up for Ayr is a trip to Stark’s Park to face title-chasing Raith on Saturday – and while the result opens up the gap between Ayr and second-bottom Inverness to six points, boss Scott Brown says the Championship is so tight that he won’t be getting carried away despite the positives to take from Friday’s showing.

“It’s an exceptional league,” Brown said.” I don’t think there’s any other league in the world that’s this close.

“But we need to make sure that we keep focussing on the game ahead. We’ll worry about ourselves and not worry about anybody else.”

Watch the post-match interviews with both Bryden and Brown online at Ayr United TV.