Queen’s Park 0 Edinburgh City 2
IT never rains but it pours. Losing your Head Coach is bad enough, but surely also losing your home within days is just downright careless.
Gus MacPherson has left Queen’s Park to take up a Technical Director role at his former club St Mirren.
And in years to come, young folk will ask where you were the day the SFA tried to steal Hampden Park for a quid.
Gus goes with our thanks for a four-year rollercoaster ride that included promotion in 2016 — and a famous win at Clyde for good measure — and more recently the New Saints sensation.
Last week’s dull 1-0 defeat at Stirling Albion was a disappointing way for Gus to bow out, but he’ll be better remembered for the Saturday night heroics in Oswestry.
His successor — only our fourth Head Coach in 14 years — has a hard act to follow, not least because we will no longer have Hampden Park to entice players after our enforced move to Lesser Hampden’s plastic pitch in 2020.
In the meantime, Gus’s assistant Mark Roberts has stepped in as caretaker,and we wish Mark well.
He’ll be helped today for the visit of surprise high-flyers Edinburgh City by the return of centre-half Gerry McLauchlan, who missed the games against New Saints and Stirling.
Young Cammy Foy, having recently recovered from a long-term injury, was proving an excellent replacement for McLauchlan, but sadly he picked up another bad injury at Stirling. We can only hope the young man gets good news after his scans.
The only other QP change from the Stirling game was Scott McLean coming in for Josh Peters.
City approach their first-ever league game at the National Stadium in justifiably high spirits.
They are two points clear at the top of League Two, their only blip being a 1-0 defeat at Elgin last month as they try to extend their winning run to a highly impressive seven games.
Queen’s beat the Citizens 3-0 at Hampden in the League Cup last season, but both squads have changed considerably since then and, in fact, not one of that Queen’s team figured today.
Queen’s kicked off on a sunny, chilly afternoon and the Hampden pitch was again picture perfect. But while the sky looked bright when viewed from the main stand, there was torrential rain battering the roof directly above us!
City, with yellow shirts replacing their normal white, showed their attacking intent right from the start and it took a splendid save from Hart in four minutes to deny Taylor, the keeper diving full-length to his left to knock away the winger’s right-foot shot that was destined for the bottom left-hand corner.
And Queen’s had another narrow escape two minutes later, when Osadolor’s heavy touch put Blair Henderson through and the big striker’s shot beat Hart but came off the keeper’s left-hand post and back into his arms.
It was 12 minutes before Queen’s got their own attack going, Osadolor skinning McIntyre in a run into the box on the right and sending over a delicious low cross that ran through the City six-yard box with not a Hoops taker in sight.
City looked very good going forward, which they did at pace with quick, slick interpassing, and they cut through the QP defence again in 18 minutes. This time, Hart just managed to paw the ball away after another effort from the dangerous Blair Henderson had been partially blocked.
Things went quiet for a while, but in 32 minutes Queen’s got their best chance so far. Osadolor made space on the right, Grant knocked in the cross, and McLean whipped a right-foot shot just wide of Antell’s left-hand post.
And it was Grant three minutes later who set up Mortimer for a shooting chance that was blocked for a corner.
Better from Queen’s, but all their good work was undone by some poor defending that saw City take the lead in 38 minutes.
Shepherd got free down the right in acres of space, and Taylor was equally unmarked in the box to accept his cross and shoot low past Hart.
Summers picked up the first booking for a foul right on half-time, and the talkative Gibson joined him after the whistle and on the way off the pitch.
Half-time: Queen’s Park 0 Edinburgh City 1
No changes by either side at the break, but Queen’s certainly started brighter, in keeping with the continued sunshine.
Mortimer won a free-kick wide right but McKernon’s cross was blocked.
But the game looked all but over in 58 minutes when Taylor grabbed his second goal, making space on the edge of the box before thrashing a right-foot shot high over Hart.
McKernon became the third QP player booked in 61 minutes.
City had furious claims for a penalty when Shepherd went down under McLauchlan’s challenge in 67 minutes, but ref Stuart waved them away.
Mortimer and Thomson were booked for a spot of handbags in 70 minutes. The ref was not having a good day, it has to be said.
Osadolor was replaced by Hawke in 72 minutes, and in quick succession McLean had two good chances blocked as Queen’s tried to salvage something from the game.
City made a double change in 78 minutes, Smith and Stewart replacing scorer Taylor and Blair Henderson, who had been kept quiet by McLauchlan, who had a fine match.
Hart had another fine save to keep it at 2-0, turning Smith’s shot onto his right-hand post at full stretch.
McLauchlan went in the book in 85 minutes for a foul and that was it.
Keep the faith. There are interesting times ahead.
Queen’s Park: Jordan Hart, James Grant, Ciaran Summers, Jamie McKernon, Gerry McLauchlan, Scott Gibson, Scott McLean, Gregor Fotheringham, Billy Mortimer, Kurtis Roberts, Smart Osadolor. Subs: Lewis Hawke, Josh Peters, Dominic McLaren Alistair Miller, Adam Martin, Euan East, Elliot Anderson (SK).
Edinburgh City: Calum Antell, Craig Thomson, Robbie McIntyre, Andrew Black, Conrad Balatoni, Mark Laird, Blair Henderson, Danny Handling, Graham Taylor, Scott Shepherd, Liam Henderson. Subs: Allan Smith, Gareth Rodger, Keiran Stewart, Callum Hall, Adam Watson, Fraser Morton, Regan Lumsden.
Referee: Peter Stuart.