MARK ROBERTS revealed on QPTV after last week’s glorious win at Queen of the South that he had asked his Spiders to be animals (must be a professional term!), and his Scottish Cup predators would have had David Attenborough purring.
It was no mean feat to beat a full-time team that this season at Palmerston could claim the scalps of runaway Championship leaders Dundee United, as well as second-top Ayr United.
What a contrast to our last league game, a 1-0 defeat at Cowdenbeath in a towsy affair that ‘s best forgotten.
Our Scottish Cup “reward” is a January fourth round trip to face Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, where we lost 2-0 in a League Cup tie last year. But for now that’s on the back-burner.
Today, Mark Roberts will need to inspire more big-game hunting as Edinburgh City visit Hampden Park.
We broke our home duck on our last outing at QPHQ, and it will take a repeat of the Palmerston Predators to get a result against a team that has lost just once in 13 games – and has yet to drop a league point against the Spiders (we can claim a cup win!).
The Citizens are five points adrift of League Two leaders Cove Rangers and are strong favourites to join the Highlanders in League One.
We lost 2-1 in our first meeting of the season in Edinburgh in September, when we competed with them for more than an hour.
Queen’s had no injury concerns from last week’s win, but had to do without the considerable talents of David Galt, who was working down south.
With young Calvin McGrory still on the sidelines, Mark Roberts had a gap to fill, and handed the task to Jack Purdue.
Willie Muir was skipper for the day in Galtie’s absence and it was Queen’s who kicked off defending the home end on a brilliantly sunny and FREEEZING afternoon.
The tricky, slippery conditions – especially on the more sheltered north side – were evident from the first minute, when Muir lost his footing taking a back-pass and the ball had to be booted for a corner that was cleared.
City played keep-ball for much of the first 10 minutes, moving Queen’s from side to side without getting near Muir. They were obviously enjoying the switch to perfect turf from their usual plastic.
The first shot on target came from Purdue in 11 minutes, moving ahead to pick up Salim’s headed flick but shooting tamely straight at McAdam
Little had to boot clear from Henderson, conceding a corner, but a minute later Queen’s almost hit the front. Summers broke into the box and unleashed a shot that ex-Spider Liam Brown cleared off the line and onto a post and away.
But a goal for Queen’s was merely delayed, and a fine score it was.
It’s been obvious for weeks that we needed someone to get ahead of Salim when he’s winning so many headers. Purdue had already done it here, but he did it again in 13 minutes, running onto Salim’s flick on and thrashing a shot behind McAdams.
Not being an anorak, I’m told that scoring the first goal has proved pivotal for Queen’s this season. Apparently we’ve managed that seven times and won six of those games, drawing the other.
(When we’ve conceded first, our record is miserable — no wins, four draws , and six defeats.)
So we couldn’t have asked for a better start. Now it’s all about maintaining it.
Half an hour in, Queen’s were still on the front foot and maintaining a high line to squeeze the City threat, which so far had been limited to balls delivered in from wide.
Queen’s had been dealing with them comfortably, but it went a bit wrong in 33 minutes. First Mortimer and then Clark failed to get enough on their attempted clearances and Muir had to scramble to push away at full stretch from under his bar a hanging cross-shot from Harris.
City came very close to an equaliser in 40 minutes. Little was penalised for a nothing foul on the static Henderson and from 25 yards Handling’s free kick beat the diving Muir but cracked off his left hand post.
Jamieson was booked for a foul in 42 that saw the big defender having to leave the field with a nose bleed and requiring a change of strip.
While he was off, City and Handling came so close again from the free kick Jamieson had conceded, the No10 yet again crashing a shot off Muir’s left hand post with the keeper beaten.
Little joined his big defensive pal in the book for a sliding foul – a decision that followed a similar tackle by a City player going unpunished seconds earlier. It also ended the half with referee McKendrick having a word with Mark Roberts, who didn’t fancy the decision any more than Homer.
Half-time: Queen’s Park 1 Edinburgh City 0
Salim couldn’t get his feet untangled when put through after the break as Queen’s started the second half in positive mood.
There was a double substitution by City in 56 minutes, Shepperd and Smith replacing Brown and Court.
Salim twice went close around the hour. First he shot just wide after winning a tackle in the box, then he broke clear before beating McAdams but seeing his shot just clear the bar.
Summers was booked for shirt-tugging during what had looked to be a promising attack – a Queen’s attack – and then Salim let fly from 30 yards but well wide.
Moore came on for Purdue before the 70-minute mark and looked to be fouled as he broke clear, but Mr McKendrick was not having it.
City made their last change in 72, Thomson on for Wilson.
Queen’s had retreated into their shell somewhat and were defending far too deep. Every clearance was coming straight back, and it took a splendid full length save by Muir to tip another rocket by Handling round the foot of the keeper’s left hand post.
But Queen’s were not to be denied and they made it 2-0 six minutes from time with a fabulous goal. Moore had the assist, taking the ball down and sending Salim racing through on the right. The goal happy striker took a touch and then from a tight angle blasted a right-foot corker that fairly ripped past the helpless McAdams.
That’s 11 goals now for Salim, and seven in his last six games. Magic, son!
Mortimer was booked in the aftermath of the goal, possibly for booting the ball away in delight.
Just like Palmerston last week, Queen’s just had to concede a goal, and again it came in time added on when Smith got the City consolation. And where McKendrick got four and a half minutes extra time, only he will know.
But delight is the feeling for another excellent victory, and our first in the league against City. Keep the Faith.
Full time: Queens Park 2 Edinburgh City 1
Queen’s Park: Willie Muir, Billy Mortimer, Ciaran Summers, Tommy Block, Nicky Jamieson, Creag Little, Cameron Clark, Luke Main, Salim Kouider-Aissa, Jack Purdue, Joffrey Lidouren. Subs: Jacques Herraghty, James Grant, Kieran Moore, Reagan Thomson, Cameron Foy, Scott Gibson, James Grant.
Edinburgh City: Aidan McAdams, Aidan Wilson, Conrad Balatoni, Chris Kane, Callum Crane, Danny Handling, Liam Brown, Marc Laird, Alex Harris, Blair Henderson, Jonny Court. Subs: Allan Smith, Jordan Sinclair, Kieren Stewart, Craig Thomson, Scott Shepherd, Dean Beveridge, Liam Henderson.
Referee: John McKendrick.