Match Preview v Queens Park (Away)

We make our second trip of the season to the National Stadium tomorrow to take on Queens Park, albeit this time in the Scottish Cup.

The earlier meeting between the sides in the Betfred Cup resulted in a 3-1 victory for us but we had to work hard after falling behine to Jai Quitongo’s early header. We eventually came out on top with goals from Euan East, Niyah Joseph and James Maxwell.

Of course, the two teams met in Scottish Cup action last year too, with Queens Park overcoming the odds to win at Palmerston thanks to a Salim Kouder-Aissa brace. Connor Murray’s volley was too little too late as the Spiders left Palmerston 2-1 winners.

Such has been the overhaul at both clubs though, only seven players from the 34 named in last November’s Scottish Cup tie remain at the clubs. Stephen Dobbie, Dan Pybus and Jack Leighfield are the three Doonhamers who remain from last season, while Willie Muir, David Galt and Jacques Heraghty are the three Spiders still at the club. Darren Lyon featured for Queens in the game, although is now a Queens Park player.

Friday’s opponents, despite being in League 2, boast a wealth of Scottish Championship experience with the likes of Peter Grant, Lee Kilday and Grant Gillespie, among others, making over 100 appearances at Championship level (or above) in their careers. There is a familiar look to this seasons Spiders team though, Kilday, Lyon, Mikey Doyle and Bob McHugh have all appeared for the Doonhamers in the not-too-distant past and could all feature on Friday. The hosts are expected to be at full strength for the tie.

We go into the game looking to build on what is our best run of form since December 2019 after back-to-back wins against Raith Rovers and Ayr United. The last time we won three on the trot was in August/September 2018, when comprehensive victories at Falkirk and at home to Ayr were followed by a 4-3 win at home to Crusaders in the Irn-Bru Cup.

Ahead of the cup tie Manager Allan Johnston said “The last two games in particular have been really positive for us. Confidence is high at the moment as the players are playing with energy, grit and determination and are being rewarded with good results. They are in it together and working well for each other, if they make a mistakes there has been someone there to cover and we are creating more chances, so at the moment we are outworking teams which is what we are looking for.

The Scottish Cup tie away at Queens Park is a really difficult draw for us as the players they have signed are players who could easily play in the Championship or the Premier League. We’ve already played them this season so we are well aware of how good a side they are.

Hampden is a great place to play, so it’s a game we are all looking forward to. We can’t afford to let all the hard work that we’ve put in over the past few weeks slip so we won’t underestimate what lies ahead and we will be going there looking to put in a good performance to get the result”.

We have no new injury concerns ahead of the game, Stephen Dobbie will definitely miss out but it remains to be seen whether Nortei Nortey, Jack Leighfield and Harry Robinson can overcome recent injuries to feature. Rhys Breen who today joined on loan from Rangers goes straight into the squad.

Tomorrow night’s game kicks-off at 7.45PM and will be live on BBC Scotland.