Queen’s Park v Ayr United
After a fortnight without competitive football the Spiders return to league action at Hampden, with Ian McCall’s Ayr United providing the opposition in a match which kickstarts yet another tough run of fixtures for Queen’s.
And there was good news on the squad front ahead of the game with Gaffer Gus MacPherson signing Hibs midfielder Jamie Gullan and striker Aidan Keena from Hearts on development loans until the end of the season.
The teenagers’ arrival coincides with mixed news on the injury front at Hampden. Gus confirmed that the squad for tomorrow is bolstered by the return of captain Sean Burns, who missed out at Arbroath through suspension. He also welcomed the return of Ross Millen after a lengthy spell on the side-lines for the defender. Although not ready to start the game, the news that Ross has stepped up his training programme and is likely to feature in the squad is a welcome boost at this vital stage in the season.
The bad news on the injury front is that we will be without the services of midfielder Anton Brady and striker James MacLennan both of whom miss out through injury. They are joined on the side-lines by youngster Lewis Magee who misses out through tonsillitis.
The prospect of back-to-back home fixtures against the league’s top two sides followed by tricky, away ties at East Fife and Airdrie might not be exactly what you would wish for at a time when putting points on the board is becoming more and more crucial, but gaffer Gus MacPherson was keen to stress the positives as he spoke to the club media team this week.
Looking ahead to the Ayr game Gus said: “This is the start of a very tough period for us, but these are the types of games we have come to expect given that this is what this league is all about. It’s very important that we are ready to hit the ground running and it’s important we start putting points on the board.
“We know that is easier said than done but as I have said, and we have demonstrated on so many occasions this season, we know we are capable of going out there and competing with the best this league has to offer.
“Ayr United will be a very tough opposition but we can take positives from having run them so close at Somerset Park in December in a match that we more than deserved to take something from. Before that they won at Hampden earlier in the season but we also gave a very good account of ourselves that day and it could have been a different match had we converted the penalty just after the break in that game.
“That said, it all comes down to taking our chances, something which I have stressed the importance of doing so often this season and something which our desire to start putting more points on the board ultimately relies on.
“We look forward to the test and go into the game with the belief that we are good enough to take something from it – providing that we compete from the start and take any chances that come our way.”
The opposition: Ian McCall’s men go into the game sitting second in the table, one point behind leaders Raith Rovers and having played one game more than the Starks Park side. Their last outing was a comfortable 4-0 home win over Arbroath in the Fourth Round of the Scottish Cup last Saturday. Their last league match was a 1-1 draw away to Raith Rovers a fortnight ago.
Head to head: Played 121; Queen’s Park 36; Draw 27; Ayr United 58.
Previous meetings this season: 23/09/2017 –Queen’s Park 0-2 Ayr United; 09/12/2017 Ayr United 3-2 Queen’s Park.
Recent form: Queen’s Park – DWDDDL; Ayr United WLLWLD.
Top scorers: Queen’s Park – Adam Cummins (7); Ayr United – Craig Moore (17).
Admission prices: Adults £14; Senior Citizen (65+) £5; Student/Unemployed/Under 16s £3.
Match officials: Referee – Greg Aitken. Assistants – David McGeachie and Simon MacLean.
Twitter: Live updates available via @QueensParkFC
Facebook: Get the team news pre-match as well as goal, half time and full-time score updates via our Facebook page www.facebook.com/QueensParkFootballClub
Other League One fixtures: Airdrieonians v Arbroath; Albion Rovers v Stranraer; Alloa Athletic v Raith Rovers; East Fife v Forfar Athletic.
Our next match: 03/02/2018 v Raith Rovers at Hampden. Kick off 3pm.