Queen’s Park secured their first ever win at the Balmoral Stadium in fine style as they defeated Cove Rangers 6-0 with club captain Simon Murray having a fine day as he grabbed four goals.
Head coach Owen Coyle listed the same starting XI that saw off Partick Thistle on Monday as they took the field against a host Cove Rangers side who were under the control of manager Paul Hartley for the first time in his second spell in charge.
The Spiders wore black shorts with their traditional Black and White Hooped jerseys however there was a familiar look after 90 seconds as Dom Thomas cut in from the right and fired for goal from 20 yards with Stuart McKenzie diving to his right to save.
Danger threatened for the visitors on six minutes when ex-Queen’s player Luis Longstaff popped up on the right and released Cieran Dunne who darted towards Calum Ferrie’s goal. Charlie Fox stepped in with a hefty clearance that took a side-ways deflection into the arms of the alert shot-stopper.
With ten minutes gone Thomas clipped a pass into the path of Murray who was racing towards the Cove goal with the striker sending a first time shot wide.
A minute later MURRAY did find the net albeit in fortunate circumstances with the skipper glad he was listening to Coyle. As Kyle McClelland played a pass back to McKenzie the Queen’s coach implored the attacker to chase the ball down and the move worked as the home goalkeeper sent his kick-out straight at Murray who adjusted his footing quickly enough to divert the ball home.
Cove looked to hit back quickly and Dunne warmed the hands of Ferrie with a stinging shot from 20 yards.
With 20 minutes played the home side came close again when Blair Yule swung over a cross from the right and Declan Glass nipped in-between two visiting defenders before sending a header flashing wide.
Murray showed his danger again midway through the opening half as he scampered clear on the right with the goal-grabber just off target with an effort that flashed across McKenzie’s goal.
Queen’s added a second goal with 30 minutes played and it was well worth travelling up to Aberdeen to see it. A lovely first touch from Grant Savoury took him clear on the left some 30 yards and he moved forward before picking out Josh McPake who took the ball deep into enemy territory before finding Murray who turned towards the Cove goal.
The team captain saw that his route to goal was blacked and he looked up before rolling a pass back to JAKE DAVIDSON on the 18-yard line and the ‘Queen’s Park Cafu’ sent a ferocious first time shot whistling into the net.
It got even better for Queen’s seven minutes from the break when they scored again. Savoury again showed lovely footwork at the edge of the box and after he was crowded out as he chased a one-two the ball fell to MURRAY who sent it into the net from seven yards.
Murray was nearly in again three minutes from the break as Jack Thomson whipped a pass in behind the home back-line however Scott Ross got back just in time to halt the double goalscorer’s progress.
Charlie Fox popped up in an attacking position 60 seconds later and it looked like he had added a fantastic fourth with a curling shot however his effort flashed inches wide with Malachi Boateng firing over the bar just before the half-time whistle sounded.
Cove enjoyed some strong possession in the early stages of the second half and they created a chance for Mitch Megginson after a series of passes however Ferrie was able to watch the Cove skipper’s effort slip past.
On 50 minutes Queen’s came within an inch of scoring after Davidson and Savoury combined on the right to slide a pass across goal for Thomson who sent his eight-yard shot crashing against the bar.
Murray had a drive pushed out by Mckenzie before Fox picked up a yellow card after a couple of sliding challenges near the half-way line with only the second one looking like a foul.
Lee Kilday produced a timely tackle on 57 minutes at the edge of the Queen’s box just as recently introduced substitute Leighton McIntosh looked set to run clear at Ferrie’s goal.
Five minutes later MURRAY grabbed his third and Queen’s fourth of the afternoon when Thomas picked him out with a cross from the right and the Spiders’ captain sent a volley flashing past McKenzie to complete his second hat-trick of the season.
Boateng showed his team-mates that the job was still not done as far as he was concerned on 64 minutes when he raced back towards Ferrie’s goal and headed away a dangerous cross.
Rather than being 4-1 it became 5-0 and again MURRAY was the goalscorer as he waited and waited patiently for Savoury to slip the ball to him on the left-hand side of the Cove box before sliding a shot under McKenzie.
Murray then showed his skills at the other end as he headed clear from the goal-line before kicking a follow up effort away from the same position.
SAVOURY got into the goalscoring act on 77 minutes when he found the far corner after a Thomas shot had been blocked and fallen into his path.
Thomson came close with a scorching drive just before youngster Calum Biggar was given a run-out as Queen’s fifth substitute of the afternoon.
Ferrie showed that he was still fully focused on 87 minutes when he leapt high to save and hold a 20-yard shot from Connor Scully.
Queen’s Park: Calum Ferrie, Jake Davidson, Lee Kilday, Charlie Fox, Tommy Robson, Malachi Boateng, Jack Thomson (Calum Biggar 82), Dom Thomas (Louis Longridge 78), Grant Savoury (Pat Jarrett 78), Josh McPake (Aaron Healy 78), Simon Murray (Scott Williamson 72). Subs not used: Jacques Heraghty (G/k), Jason Naismith, Alex Bannon, Stephen Eze.
Cove Rangers: Stuart McKenzie, Connor Scully, Scott Ross, Morgyn Neill, Blair Yule, Mitch Megginson, Kyle McClelland, Luis Longstaff, Cieran Dunne, Fraser Fyvie (Leighton McIntosh 56), Declan Glass (Jamie Masson 70). Subs not used: Kyle Gourlay (G/k), Iain Vigurs, Robbie Leitch.
Referee – David Dickinson.