Queen`s Park`s Quest Is Dunfermline`s DeterminationDate: Thursday, 5th May 2022
The all important Second-Leg of the SPFL Cinch Championship Play-Off Semi-Final between Queen`s Park and Dunfermline Athletic is only hours away.
It is a big game in both team`s seasons, in both team`s histories – for contrasting reasons.
Queen`s Park are the oldest Football Club in Scotland but have a proud history of being amateur and holding their own amongst the senior sides of the SPFL. However, just as Covid hit, the Spiders went full-time for the first time in their long and illustrious history, as the amateurs turned professional.
Guided by Ray McKinnon – who we all wish a speedy recovery following the news of his heart attack at the end of last week – the favourites for the League 2 title last season were crowned Champions and promoted back into Scotland`s third-tier.
A division they know well, they came into this campaign full of hope and expectation under the new management team of Laurie Ellis and Grant Murray.
Following the appointment of highly-rated Dutchman Marijn Beuker from AZ Alkmaar in 2021, the Director of Football swiftly put his stamp on the Queen`s Park side by relieving Ellis and Murray of their duties. New CEO, Leeann Dempster used her contacts to bring in former Pars player, coach and manager, John Potter to assist until a permanent appointment was made.
Alongside Beuker, the`ve helped guide the Spiders to the Promotion Play-Off places, finishing 4th – ahead of the Pars` bitter rivals, Falkirk. Following a spell in India, a fellow former Par has joined the Glasgow Club, in the shape of Owen Coyle. He will officially join as manager once his contract ends with his Indian Club later on this month, but has been on the training ground and in the dugout over the past few weeks to cast his eye over his new Club`s players and promotional hopes.
Queen`s Park`s quest is to gain back-to-back promotions – with the ambitious side hoping to see past Dunfermline and take one-step closer to Championship football next term. That provides Dunfermline`s determination for this weekend; following Wednesday evening`s 0-0 draw at Firhill, the game remains in the balance as the tie heads to East End Park.
John Hughes` men controlled the majority of the game, but failed to capitalise with any goals in the First-Leg of the SPFL Cinch Championship Play-Off Semi-Final. The hosts have the pressure on them. They do not want to return to SPFL Cinch League One, 9 years on from Pars United purchasing the Football Club and saving it from liquidation.
However, those happy times off-the-field saw tears on it as Alloa Athletic defeated Athletic over two-legs to secure promotion to the second-tier of Scottish Football and cosigning the West Fife side to a couple of rough terms in the lower echelons on our professional game.
The Pars WON`T want to go back there, they know how tough a task that will pose: the appointment of John McGlynn as Falkirk manager will provide a major boost to the Bairns, while two of Queen`s Park, Airdrieonians and Montrose will also be in the division next season.
Kelty Hearts will also be there and would relish a Fife Derby or four over the season, while Queen of the South will remain full-time under Willie Gibson and provide another strong outfit. It could be another massive setback for the Football Club if relegation does occur and that is why there is a heavy expectation level and feeling of anticipation of victory for Dunfermline Athletic this weekend.
That would only be half-way to survival, but the Pars could take one small step to safety and survival, imminently.