By Lewis Laird
Queen’s Park said a fond farewell to Hampden Park in their last league appearance at the national stadium, Celtic loanee Luca Connell inspiring Ray McKinnon’s side to a 3-0 win over Stranraer.
As the lower leagues returned to action for the first time since January, it was more of the same for the League Two leaders as they restarted their unbeaten form with goals from Michael Doyle, Lee Kilday and Bob McHugh to secure the three points, Connell shining in midfield following his midweek loan move from Celtic.
Queen’s got off to a sharp start on their return, scoring inside 20 minutes. A long ball over the top found Simon Murray behind the Stranraer defence. There were calls for offside by Stranraer, but they were waved away by the officials.
As Murray found himself out wide, he delivered a cross to the back-post where Doyle was waiting. At first, it looked like his header was aimed to be put back across the box, however, it looped over Greg Fleming in the Stranraer goal and into the back of the net.
Queen’s Park doubled their lead just over 10 minutes later. A brilliantly weighted free-kick by Celtic talent Connell found the head of Kilday, who had a free header to smash the ball home and make it 2-0.
Stranraer looked to try and grab one back early in the second half as Andy Stirling weaved his way in and out of the Spiders defence. He then got enough space to take the shot, but it was blocked well by Doyle.
On the 65th minute, Queen’s were given the chance to add a third from the spot. Some intricate play in and around the penalty area led to McHugh being brought down in the box which gave the referee no choice other than to point to the spot. With his final touch, the Spiders number nine stepped up and confidently dispatched the penalty home.
To add insult to injury, Stranraer were reduced to 10 men with 10 minutes of the game left after a second yellow card of the game for midfielder Kieran Miller was produced as he brought down the on-rushing Jai Quitongo. Here are three things we learned as Queen’s Park go five points clear at the top of League Two, Stranraer sitting fourth.
Queen’s continue unbeaten run
It may have been their first game since January 8th, however, it was much more of the same for Queen’s Park as they notched up another victory and continued their unbeaten league run as they march towards the League Two title.
This will be a busy few months for the Spiders ahead with lots of fixtures coming up but it will take a good side to defeat Ray McKinnon’s team and end that run.
Just days after joining Queen’s from Celtic, new signing Connell put in a Man of the Match performance that will delight manager McKinnon.
Having not featured in any sort of senior competitive action since his time at Bolton in the English Championship, it was a quick and impressive start for the Celtic loanee who will add even more quality to the Queen’s Park squad.
Stranraer will be delighted to return to league football once again after so long out. This wasn’t a game they were expected to take anything away from and if they did it would have been a bonus with the incredible form that Queen’s Park have been on this campaign.
They now face a game against bottom of the league side Brechin City on Tuesday night and will look to then to get back to winning ways in the league.
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