Brechin City 0 Queen’s Park 0

Tonight saw Queen’s embark on a run of four games that could define how this season finally turns out.

Starting with the trip to Brechin, we face the four bottom teams in the league. These are games we could … and should win – but when have the Spiders ever done what they were supposed to?

To add to the nagging concerns ahead of kick-off at the Glebe, Queen’s have a pretty appalling record over the years at the famous Hedge ground (despite our win here last time out). And to round things off, we had to face Brechin battling for their lives minus Nicky Jamieson, who was ruled out with a head knock suffered on the losing trip to Cove at the weekend.

Jamieson’s absence meant at least one change had to be made, with Morrison moving from midfield to take his place in central defence. The Gaffer also restored Finnie to his right back slot, with Lidouren dropping to the bench. Craig Slater took the final place in midfield.

The pitch had to survive an afternoon inspection before the game could go ahead, but although pretty firm in places, it certainly looked OK as the Spiders kicked-off down the slope.

The early signs were encouraging, with two early corners for Queen’s helping warm the hands and vocal chords of the travelling support. The corners came to nowt, as did all the other opening salvoes from Ray Mckinnon’s men, but his former charges almost took a shock lead with their first foray upfield. A corner was swung in and Page was given too much room to head narrowly wide.

That scare aside, it was the visitors who enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and came desperately close to an opener after 13 minutes. Grant powered in a header from a KIng corner and although keeper McMinn was helpless, his post came to the rescue and then Lady Luck smiled on him as the rebound was knocked inches wide. Unlucky 13 for Queen’s right enough.

It had been an entertaining start, but sadly, things went downhill from this point. Queen’s had plenty possession and created some half chances, but never really gave McMinn too much to worry about – until the 40th minute. That was when Galt finally found space to get a shot away, but the home keeper was alert and dived low to deny the Spiders skipper.

The good news was that apart from some tidy play by Hamilton on the Brechin right, our defence was never seriously tested and the new-look back four did its job comfortably.

Half time: Brechin City 0 Queen’s Park 0

Neither side made any changes at the break and for the opening 15 minutes, it was a case of Deja Vu as the Spiders kept knocking on the door, without really threatening to find the key to unlock the home defence.

Galt and Salim saw shots comfortably saved; Moore ran his socks off, and Finnie and Doig sent efforts high or wide as they ventured upfield in a bid to break the deadlock.

Brechin for their part looked solid at the back, but a bit toothless up front. Their best moment arrived when Jackson found space on the right and Muir had to be at his best to keep out his low effort.

The home side made the first change with 20 minutes left, replacing Jackson with McManus. Queen’s brought on MacLean for Doig a few moments later, and the Spider sub almost sank Brechin with his first run. But although he managed to wriggle clear and fire over an inviting low cross, there were no takers and the scoreline remained blank.

The game’s first booking arrived in the 75th minute when Scott was shown yellow after a “robust” challenge.

Brechin enjoyed more of the ball as Queen’s frustration grew and as time wore on the home side began to look more likely to nick a winner. They almost did just that following a corner in the dying stages, but Muir managed to block the McManus effort.

The Gaffer made his last roll of the dice after 87 minutes when he swapped Moore for Lidouren, but the sub had little time to make an impact.

The final “action” to go in the notebook before the whistle gave us all the chance to get in out of the biting cold was a booking for Hamilton’s challenge on Galt.

Full time: Brechin City 0 Queen’s Park 0

So Queen’s fail to take their first opportunity to move into third place,but looking on the bright side, we have now been to Brechin twice this season and avoided defeat on both those occasions.

In addition, we are now level on points with third-placed Cowdenbeath … and still have plenty winnable games to come.

But perhaps the thing that should give us all the most cause for optimism is that despite being far from our best tonight, we managed to come home from Brechin with a point in the bag.

Next up is a game against Annan at HQ. That will be far from easy, but if we play to our potential, there is absolutely no reason why we can’t end this month with another three points added to the total.

The one thing that might count against us is that Ray McKinnon must be in line for Manager of the Month after his February exploits. if that is the case, and if that award is announced before the Annan game, then all bets are off as far as your scribe is concerned.Optimist, me – never. Dreamer … always!

Queen’s Park: Willie Muir, Ryan Finnie, Josh Doig (Ross MacLean, 73), Stuart Morrison, Peter Grant, Jake Davidson, Adam King, Craig Slater, Salim Kouider-Aïssa, David Galt and Kieran Moore (Joffrey Lidouren, 87).

Substitutes: James Grant, Reece McGuire, Creag Little, Ross MacLean, Joffrey Lidouren, Luke Main and Cammy Bell.

Ray speaks to QPTV after the game