On a day when so many of our second division rivals were unable to beat lower league and non-league opposition Queens progressed efficiently to the Scottish Cup 4th round courtesy of a 2-0 win at Meadowbank Stadium. It was far from a vintage performance but if was a win earned professionally with goals from each of our top two scorers.
There was no great surprise to see Allan Johnston name an unchanged team with Holt and Young still suspended and Hopkirk and Smith still unavailable. Ian McShane returned to the bench in place of young Pat Slattery though. It was a pleasant, if cold and crisp, day in Edinburgh and the surface was dry but clearly bumpy. It affected a lot of the passing of both sides all game. It was Queens though who seized the early initiative though City weathered the storm without any real concerns and even began to make the odd foray forward themselves. Indeed Shaun Harrison tested Robinson with a well struck 25 yard effort that needed tipping over the crossbar on 10 minutes.
Queens were soon back on top though and controlled the rest of the half without causing too many problems for Andrew Stobie in the home goal, though he had defender Callum McLean to thank for a brave block that denied Gavin Reilly. Derek Lyle sent a shot curling over the bar soon after whilst Nicky Clark`s 38th minute free kick struck the stanchion outside the goal net instead of the net itself.
Queens took the lead soon after though, in the 42nd minute. It came from Mitchell?s right sided corner. His accurate delivery was nodded on by Chris Higgins and Nicky Clark pounced in front of the goalkeeper to nod the ball in from close range.
There were no changes for either side at the interval and Queens came out and began to assert even more dominance than previously. One free flowing move involving Clark and Reilly ended with Ryan McGuffie bursting clear into the penalty area but dragging his shot wide of the left post. The game though did become more stretched and City had the odd chance on the break. From one such break the ball fell for Ross Guthrie 20 yards out from goal and his first time shot cracked off the inside of Robinson`s post, leaving the keeper grateful to see the ball rebound to safety via Mitchell`s clearance.
If there were any concerns that Queens might lose an equaliser against the run of play they were put to rest five minutes later when the second and clinching goal arrived. A nice passing move ended with Nicky Clark slipping the ball inside a defender for Gavin Reilly to run on and finish in the bottom right corner.
Two minutes later two could have become three as Danny Carmichael found space on the edge of the penalty area to turn and curl a shot beyond the keeper`s reach but against the post and, like Guthrie before him, could only watch as it rebounded to safety with Reilly unable to control it. That was Danny`s last touch as he was replaced by Willie Gibson. Gibson`s first contribution was to fire a dangerous shot narrowly over the crossbar from distance.
Ian McShane was given a rare first team opportunity with ten minutes remaining, taking over from Paul Burns in midfield, but there was little further goalmouth action and Queens were able to retire to the dressing room knowing they will be safely in the hat for Monday`s draw. Unfortunately it seems we will now have next weekend off as scheduled oppopnents Forfar Athletic were held to a 3-3 draw by Nairn County and their Scottish Cup replay will take precedence.