Queen’s make the short journey down the M77 on Saturday afternoon to face Steve Clarke’s Kilmarnock in the final match of the Betfred Cup group stages. They head to Rugby Park on the back of a confidence boosting performance against St Mirren at Hampden in midweek, a match which saw Gus’ men hold the Premiership newcomers to a 0-0 draw, frustratingly having created enough clear-cut chances to have won the game on another day. The Spiders will have to draw on that level of performance all over again if they are to have a chance of taking anything from the game against a Killie side who top the group and will have strong aspirations to hold onto that place come full time.
Ahead of the match the club media team spoke to Gus MacPherson to get his thoughts.
Starting off with a quick look back at Tuesday night’s impressive performance Gus said: “I thought we were fantastic and it says a lot that there was disappointment in the dressing room after the match because we hadn’t won the shootout. We made a couple of changes to give boys some game time and considering some of the boys hadn’t had a lot of game time prior to that, there were a number of brilliant individual performances.
“I thought we looked very strong all over the park and did superbly to match the challenge of a Premiership opponent and I was delighted with that. We couldn’t have asked for any more from the squad.
“On another day it could have been a different score line given that we created a number of really good chances, but we were up against a top keeper in Craig Samson.
“What was pleasing was the energy and performance levels we were reaching in the latter stages of the game. There was a real hunger and desire from the attacking players to get into the penalty box right up until the dying stages of the game.”
“Turning his thoughts to the match at Rugby Park Gus said: “It’s a game that we look forward to and one which the players will relish. It’s a great chance for them once again to have the opportunity to test themselves against a top-level side and from a player’s perspective that’s what they want.
“It’s been a tough pre-season so far and Tuesday night’s gruelling encounter has left us with decisions to make on a few of the players but whoever starts will be looking to use it as their opportunity to make their mark.
“Kilmarnock top the group as things stand and they will be looking to finish strongly and progress to the next round. We know it’ll be an extremely tough game, but we will go there looking to give a good account of ourselves and first and foremost to compete.
“From our perspective these are bonus games and we’re using them first and foremost to find out about the players both mentally and physically, but it also gives them the opportunity to learn about us. In that regard it is good preparation for the league campaign starting next week at Peterhead”.
The opposition: Kilmarnock go into their final fixture of the Betfred Cup group stages after a successful campaign which has seen them draw with St Mirren and then record wins over Dumbarton and latterly Spartans on Tuesday night. They sit top of the group and favourites to finish in that position, despite four sides being able to top the group if results went their way. Killie have scored seven goals in the cup so far with experienced striker Kris Boyd grabbing a hat trick last week and with on loan Bournemouth Striker Mikael Ndjoli grabbing the other four, the Spiders defence will have to be at their best to keep them out.
Head to head: Played 127; Queen’s Park 27; Draw 3; Kilmarnock 69.
Last meeting of the sides: 10/03/1990 Kilmarnock 0-3 Queen’s Park.
Last matches: 24/07/2018 Queen’s Park 0-0 St Mirren (St Mirren won 5-4 on penalties); 24/07/2018 The Spartans 0-3 Kilmarnock.
Match officials: Referee – Barry Cook. Assistants – Graham Chambers and Gary Hilland.
Admission prices: Adults £15; Concessions (Over 65, Under 21 and Students) £10; Under 16 £5.
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Our next match: 04/08/2018 vs Peterhead at Balmoor Stadium. Kick off 3.00pm.
Other Betfred Cup Group H Fixtures: St Mirren v Dumbarton.