Ayr United v Queen’s Park
With just six games of the season remaining, things are looking up for the Spiders despite still occupying bottom position in League One. Having picked up four from a possible six points on the road last week we closed the gap on Albion Rovers and Forfar above us to just one and two points respectively, albeit Rovers have a game in hand. With that in mind, our survival prospects remain very much in our own hands, with Queen’s still to face Forfar im the run in. However, that run in begins with the toughest task of them all, league leaders Ayr United on their own patch.
Ahead of the clash at Somerset Park, the club media team caught up with the gaffer to get his thoughts, starting with a quick look back on last weekend’s hard fought 3-2 win over Stranraer. Gus said: “I was delighted with the win. We have been challenged considerably in the last few months in that we have not been playing particularly badly, but not picking up the points that our effort has merited. Over the last couple of games we have shown a real determination and character.
“I was delighted with the times that we got the goals. We lost a very poor goal from our perspective and allowed Stranraer a lifeline, but the determination not to throw away the lead was very pleasing, typified by Sean Burns who got himself on the scoresheet with the vital third goal courtesy of a fantastic finish.
“We could have had a fourth at the end had it not been for the missed penalty but overall we were just delighted to get the three points.”
Turning his thoughts to the visit to Somerset Park Gus said: “I say every week that every game is tough at this level but this is the toughest of the lot. It’s a top v bottom scenario and we’ll be up against a very strong Ayr United side who are top on merit. Having said that, we can take confidence from how well we competed down there earlier in the season and we could and should have been further ahead in that game, eventually losing out to a late Ayr United winner.
“We go into the game fully aware of the firepower and options they have up front and we know that to have any chance, we need to defend properly for the entire match. We have shown a different side to us in recent weeks which I always believed was there. We have given away very little and worked hard to cut out individual mistakes and it goes without saying that we need to demonstrate that again at Somerset Park.
“The players all know what is expected of them, they know their roles and will go into the game looking forward to it. At the start of the season you would probably have looked at the away matches against Ayr United and Raith Rovers and thought anything from those matches would be a bonus but that will not stop us going there and putting in the hard work to try to take something.
“We have had a different dimension to the squad since the addition of Aidan Keena and he has been the obvious difference in matches in recent weeks. We hope he can continue the run of goalscoring form he is in between now and the end of the season, starting this weekend.”
On the injury front Gus confirmed that on loan Hibs winger Jamie Gullan will miss out through a groin injury. He will join defenders Gerry McLauchlan and Daniel Nimmo on the sidelines. Kevin Green has continued his journey back from injury and may be fit enough to be included on the bench.
The opposition: The Honest Men go into the match six points clear at the top of the league and unbeaten in their last six matches having won five and drawn the other. Their last outing was a 3-2 win over Albion Rovers at Cliftonhill on Tuesday night. Despite having gone 2-0 down in the first half, Rovers got it back to 2-2 with just over 20 minutes remaining before ex Spider Lawrence Shankland scored the winner with 15 minutes left.
Head to head: Played 122; Queen’s Park 36; Draw 27; Ayr United 59.
Last matches: 17/03/2018 – Stranraer 2-3 Queen’s Park; 20/03/2018 – Albion Rovers 2-3 Ayr United.
Previous meetings this season: 23/09/2017 – Queen’s Park 0-2 Ayr United; 09/12/2017 – Ayr United 3-2 Queen’s Park; 27/01/2018 Queen’s Park 1-4 Ayr United.
Recent form: Queen’s Park – WLDLDW; Ayr United – WWWDWW.
Top scorers: Queen’s Park – Adam Cummins (10); Ayr United – Lawrence Shankland (22).
Admission prices: Adults – £16; OAPs/Student/18-21 £10; Under 18s £5.
Match officials: Referee – Barry Cook. Assistants – Alan Mulvanny and Ross Birrell.
Twitter: Live updates available via @QueensParkFC
Other League One fixtures: Airdrieonians v Raith Rovers; Albion Rovers v Alloa Athletic; Arbroath v Stranraer; Forfar Athletic v East Fife.
Our next match: 31/03/2018 v Airdrieonians at Hampden. Kick off 3pm.