It's the long trek to Palmerston this week, all 234 miles of it, to take on hot-shot Stephen Dobbie and his Queen of the South team mates, where our mission will be to return with our unbeaten run intact.
That's no easy task at the moment with Queens sitting mid-table, four points behind Inverness, having taken a point of table topping Ayr United last weekend in the battle of the strikers.
Tickets must be purchased from the away ticket office at Palmerston, not at the gate.
The ICT Supporters Travel Club are running a bus to this game, book through their Facebook page HERE or by texting your name to 07462218717. The Bus leaves from the Caley Social Club at 8:30am and from the Caledonian Stadium at 8:45am.
We broke our sequence of draws last time out, thankfully, with a win over Partick at Firhill. Two main contributors in that result were Tom Walsh who scored a spectacular goal after cutting in from the left to curl a beauty across the keeper into the top corner, a goal fit to win any game. That feat was matched by a superb double penalty save by Mark Ridgers minutes later to ensure he kept a clean sheet and importantly take all three points back up the A9. Fantastic ability from Mark, carrying on from the brilliant 'viral' save against County in the Highland derby.
Queens came from behind in the strikers dual to grab a point at Ayr. But neither Shankland or Dobbie were on target in this one, Dobbie going closest with a strike off the post. It was Michael Rose who headed Ayr in front but Connor Murray scored with his first touch ten minutes from the end to ensure Queens were the first side to deny Ayr all three points at home this season.
We showed how thin our squad is last week after removing Riccardo Calder from the payroll. With Shaun Rooney and Carl Tremarco injured we were down to five on the bench with three of them being youths, none of which was Daniel Mackay who was missing presumed injured as he never featured in the u18's 9-2 routing of East Fife either. However, it's encouraging to note that the youngsters are having a tremendous season and goals are being scored freely, Roddy Kennedy bagging four and Roddy MacGregor a brace in that u18's game.
Whilst Stephen Dobbie is the man that get's all the headlines for Queens, there are other players who can perform well, but their secret ingredient is they all work hard for each other and in Alan Martin they have an experienced keeper. Only Ayr and Ross County have scored more goals than the Doonhamers. Dobbie has scored an amazing 25 goals in 21 appearances with 13 of those coming in the Championship including two hat-tricks and a quadruple against Ayr United. Touch wood, but he has only scored once in his last six games since he hit a treble against Alloa at the beginning of October.
The first meeting between the clubs this season ended in stalemate with Dobbie failing to score but he did batter one off the crossbar. It was his veteran team mate Gary Harkins who was the star of the show that day though. Harkins strolled through the game and showed our fragile midfield how to control the pace of a game and stamp your authority all over the match. Tremendous display from Harkins and he was my Man of the Match back at the end of September. Hopefully we have learned from that.
Here's a great quote from Robbo off the official preview that puts everything into perspective:- “The unbeaten run is very special, you look at the previous managers here, Terry Butcher achieved 21 matches in this league, Steve Paterson achieved 22 in the third Division, and to break that is very special. The players deserve enormous credit, it’s been tremendous and they’ve all played their part."
Maybe it's time to give the wee man the credit he is due.
Queens fans will be disappointed to note that Shaun Rooney will not be playing after being injured against Ross County a couple of weeks ago. Carl Tremarco also missed out last week and we deployed a makeshift back line with Riccardo Calder having been given his marching orders. That meant moving Brad Mckay to right back, drafting Jamie McCart in beside Coll Donaldson and pulling back Joe Chalmers to the left wing back role. It worked well enough at Partick, and I would imagine it will be along similar lines should Tremarco fail to be fit enough to start.
Queens last line up can be seen on the Official Preview