Elgin City 3 Queen’s Park 1

Whatever else you may say about playing for Queen’s Park, at the very least, it lets you see plenty of the country. After last week’s cup jaunt to Edinburgh, today sees us take the longest journey of the season to Elgin, as round two of the league fixtures begins. Then it’s off to Stenny next Saturday, before a brief return to Hampden for the visit of Brechin. That’s followed by a trip to Fife and the wee spell is rounded off by our next cup adventure – against Queen of the South at Palmerston.

It’s a tough spell, but the hope going into this afternoon’s match was that if we could produce our best form on a more consistent basis, there’s no reason why we couldn’t pick up a decent haul of league points … and perhaps spring a cup surprise into the bargain.

Last week’s capital success against Spartans put a wee spring back in the steps, and so it was no real surprise when the Gaffer said same again to the starting XI.

One notable omission from the squad was young Reagan Thomson, who was on international duty with Scotland under 17s. Reagan started, and starred, during the week as the Scots secured their place among the euro elite with victory over Iceland.

Ironic isn’t it that Queen’s are denied the chance to compete at the top level in Scotland’s youth set up because they can’t offer youngsters a pathway to professional football … yet Reagan is the latest promising product from the Hampden conveyor belt that gave us the Scotland captain and one goal scorer in our senior national side’s latest qualifier? Go figure!

Anyway, enough of that, let’s get back to matters in hand and today’s game at Borough Briggs.

There are times when less is best – and as far as this report is concerned, that is certainly the case.

The result was disappointing – as was the performance – and the game itself, which produced precious few moments worthy of note.

Although they had the wind at their backs at the start, it took the home side nine minutes to muster the first shot … and that was a weak effort from Spark that dribbled past the post.

Four minutes later referee Lambie made his first intervention, booking Summers for a tug on the jersey of Mackay. 

Queen’s first serious attack came after 21 minutes when a neat Kieran Moore lay-off gave Salim the chance to get a shot away, but McHale was perfectly positioned to save his powerful effort.

Within seconds of that chance Queen’s were behind. A simple ball through found Cameron in space and he took advantage of a ricochet to bury the ball past Muir.

That was a sickening blow, but the Spiders responded exactly as their support hoped they would.

Less than a minute elapsed before Galt wriggled clear on the left and drove into the box where he was fouled by Cooper.

It was a simple decision for Lambie to point to the spot, which he duly did. Salim’s effort was saved, but the striker followed up to drive the rebound past McHale to tie the scores up at 1-1.

Now back in the game, it was important for the Spiders to keep things tight for a while. They failed to do that and five minutes later were behind again.

Mackay’s shot from distance should have been easy meat for Muir, but it bounced away from the keeper and gave Sutherland the opportunity to swivel and fire the ball back into the net to restore Elgin’s lead.

Queen’s tried to hit back again and did win three corners in quick succession. But while we made nothing of these openings, the home side made the most of their next chance.

Another shot from Mackay looked to be going nowhere when it hit Sutherland and flew into the net.

That was the last action of a seriously disappointing first period.

Half time

Elgin City 3 Queen’s Park 1

If the first period was disappointing, the second was pretty dismal.

Neither side could find a way to goal, and the officials did nothing to improve the flow of the game with a series of bizarre decisions that resulted in bookings on both sides … and a general increase in the frustration levels.

As the afternoon wore on, Mark rang the changes, replacing Moore with Mortimer; Gibson with Foy, and Agyeman with Purdue.

None of the changes looked like bringing us back into things, although the final few moments could have been interesting had Mortimer made the most of a 1-on-1 chance against the keeper, but McHale stood tall and denied the sub his moment in the headlines.

As it was, the game fizzled out without either keeper being called into anything like serious action and Queen’s left the Highlands still seeking their first win in the league since that sunny August day when we put Brechin to the sword in the shadow of the Glebe Park hedge.

Perhaps the most disappointing thing about this afternoon is that unlike other games we’ve lost this season, there were precious few plus points that can be taken from this one.

The only thing we can hope for is that our darkest hour will prove to come before the dawn and next Saturday will see us start the climb back up the table.

Keep the Faith.

Queen’s Park: Willie Muir, Tommy Block, Ciarán Summers, Calvin McGrory, Nicky Jamieson, Scott Gibson, Alfredo Agyeman, Salim Kouider-Aissa, David Galt, Joffrey Lidouren, Kieran Moore, Subs: Jacques Herraghty (gk), Luke Main, James Grant, Cameron Foy, Jack Purdue, Billy Mortimer, Cameron Clark.

Mark speaks to QPTV after the game