Play-Off rivals clash
Along with Morton and Dunfermline, Queens pose an immediate threat to our stuttering chances of achieving our goal and remaining in the top four, although should any of the other clubs go on a run they would also come into contention.
Stephen Dobbie has missed a few games recently but returned last Saturday in the 0-0 draw with Ayr United when the Championships top two strikers drew a blank.
Gary Naysmith said on the QotS website " I was really happy with the lads last weekend, they showed the great character and spirit that they have and gave their all to grind out a result. Ayr maybe had more of the ball but we had the better chances to score on the day. That's three times we've played Ayr now and still have the upper hand with a win and two draws so the boys deserve a lot of credit.
That result coupled with County stealing the Highland derby means that the Dingwall side now head the table by three points from Ayr United with Dundee United third and Inverness clinging on to fourth, just. (We drop down to 5th with Morton beating County 1-0 last night).
We wuz robbed! Yes, that's how it felt after the bell went and the dust settled in Dingwall. A late goal from Ross Stewart snatched an unlikely three points for County after Inverness had dominated for long spells. Despite having the better opportunities, our lack of a clinical striker was evident once more and we only managed a first half goal through Jordan White, his 100th senior goal. Billy Mckay must have wanted to score and he did just that, the wee scamp that he is. However, due to Scott Fox having a good day and our forwards having a normal day then we failed to take advantage and it cost us dear. There was also a double sending off for a spot of fisticuffs. Perennial cheat Brian Graham was sent packing for assaulting a couple of Caley Jags players and it appears that Shaun Rooney was caught returning the favour. With that in mind, Rooney will be unavailable to face his old Doonhamer pals.
Both of the previous games this season have ended in draws. There were no hints that this fixture could produce some excitement back in September when a Gary Harkins inspired Queens drew with an uninspired Inverness. The return fixture at Palmerston was full of action though as Queens raced into a 3-0 lead on the 17th November. Goals from Lyndon Dykes, Stephen Dobbie and Josh Todd saw them cruising on the hour. Twenty minutes later it was all square as Jamie McCart, Tom Walsh and a Sean Welsh penalty pulled us level and we almost won it at the end. Spectacular stuff and a repeat of that entertainment will please most.
Queens and Gary Harkins have parted company. The talented and experienced midfield general has decided that Partick Thistle is where he will see out his time. Former Dundee and Aberdeen midfielder Nicky Low has joined the Doonhamers and he will be seen as a straight replacement for Harkins. Look out, we could be 'on the eve of destruction' as Barry Maguire has also signed on at Palmerston. What! Sorry wrong Barry; this one is a central defender joining from Motherwell and highly thought of at that. If he won't 'destruct' us, then this man is well capable of doing so on his own. Stephen Dobbie has just returned after injury and will be a massive threat.
As mentioned earlier, Shaun Rooney will be suspended for his part in the Global Energy UFC bout. Carl Tremarco made the bench that day but was not risked at Dingwall. Unsurprisingly, we now have to move the back four around to cover for Rooney, so I would expect Tremarco to feature at left back with Jamie McCart returning to central defence which will release Brad Mckay to right back. However, we now have a new name to throw into the hat for a starting berth. Kevin McHattie has joined from Derry City. The 25 year old is primarily a left back and has previously played for Hearts, Kilmarnock and Raith Rovers and has had a loan spell at Alloa Athletic. Therefore should Carl Tremarco not be 100% fit then McHattie could make his Caley Jags debut. George Oakley missed the derby after twisting his knee in training but could return to the offense if he has shaken off the injury. Daniel Mackay and Roddy MacGregor could also get more game time as youth begins to surface with the purse strings tightening.
tm4tj prediction:- I'd almost given up on doing predictions as a draw was the most likely outcome. We seem to be slightly more suited to playing away from home, therefore if we can keep Stephen Dobbie quiet then I'll go for another draw.
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