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Rating: 4.72
Rating: 4.52
Rating: 5.04
Rating: 3.08
Rating: 4.43
Rating: 4.85
Rating: 4.78
Rating: 4.04
Rating: 4.20
Rating: 4.00
Rating: 4.69
S1 - 27
Rating: 4.00
S2 - 46
Rating: 3.90
S3 - 67
Rating: 3.65
Members of the Internet Fan Club can award players marks out of ten for their performance today. The player with the most points awarded in the two days following a match will be the IFC Man of the Match. All of the points will then be added to a running total for each player and the results published in the mom League Table.

Name or IFC No.
Shocking! A truly awful performance at New Broomfield this afternoon. Rarely have a Queen of the South side in the last three and a bit seasons at this level ever been so comprehensively outplayed by what is fundamentally not all that good a side. If we were robbed blind last week and left to curse our luck then make no mistake about it, we deserved nothing more than what we got today. Would the real Queen of the South please stand up? This was the only team that we've actually managed to beat this season remember and this was the exact same sixteen which completely outplayed Ross County last week. Perhaps given County's scoreline with St Mirren today that said more about them than us? Today we were flat from the word go and deservedly hammered by a team we could conceivably have pulled into the relegation fight with a victory today.

Both teams lined up as expected with Ian McCall naming exactly the sixteen from last week whilst Airdrie's only change from the midweek draw in Paisley was Martin Hardie in for the suspended Stephen Docherty, sent off in that game. It wasn't long before the balance of play was established and in six minutes the lively Willie McLaren picked up a poor clearing header from Chris Carr and played a one-two with McPhee before bursting into the box and shooting across Colin Scott. The keeper's outstretched fingers just did enough to divert the ball wide for a corner. On ten minutes McLaren again found himself in possession 20 yards out and this time Chris Carr made a brave block of his drive at goal. Brian McPhee hammered the rebound well over the bar. Queens back three were proving completely incapable of dealing with the movement of Airdrie's front three though and the goal was inevitable. It duly arrived a minute later. Possession was given away carelessly in the left back area and the ball was lifted into the centre where Chris Carr tried to leather it clear but barely brushed the ball with his studs leaving Bryan Prunty with a run at Jim Thomson. Big Jim managed to get a tackle in but the ball broke only straight to McLaren who drew in the captain before slipping it aside to Prunty again. This time there was no-one between him and goal and the former Celtic, Aberdeen and ICT man made no mistake with his shot from 15 yards into the bottom right corner leaving Colin Scott helpless.

Match action
Queens almost hit back immediately as it happens when Paul Burns went on a mazy run and shot goalward from about 20 yards out. Robertson appeared to have it covered but Derek Lyle appeared out of the crowd around the penalty spot to divert the ball towards the opposite corner leaving the keeper completely stranded as a result. Unfortunately though the ball missed the post by inches. It was as close as we came all day. A couple of minutes later John O'Neill met Willie Gibson's inswinging cross with a flick header which sent the ball about a foot wide of goal.

Midway through the half Colin Scott did very well to punch the ball clear just above the head of Prunty after Hardie dominated Carr in the air to head on a cross but minutes later the lead was indeed doubled when no-one closed down Willie McLaren on the edge of the box as he picked up yet another alleged clearing header which didn't have anything like enough distance on it. The young winger made no mistake this time with his shot into the same bottom right corner Prunty had hit earlier. Derek Lyle had been struggling after picking up an early knock in a tackle and he immediately made way for David McNiven. However, there was little change to the balance of play for the rest of the half with Airdrie looking well capable of adding to their tally without really coming especially close to doing so.

Match action
The second half began with a substitution and tactical change for Queens. Stephen Payne replaced Chris Carr which meant Eric Paton tucking into a more central midfield role which Paul Burns had been playing, Burns moving into the holding midfield role that had been the responsibility of Stuart Lovell and Lovell dropping in to the back three as sweeper behind the two marking centre halves. If it was meant to improve things significantly though it failed. The balance of play still lay completely with the home side and Brian McPhee might have done better four minutes into the half when his low shot from 25 yards missed target by a yard or two. Two minutes later the defence were sleeping when McKeown collected a short corner and cut inside before unleashing a drive from outside the box that Colin Scott did well to palm over the bar. A minute after that Jim Thomson tried to control a huge punt from the Airdrie backline under some pressure and succeeded only in playing Prunty in on goal. This time Colin Scott won the battle and made a good low block from the striker's shot.

It was all Airdrie and on 54 minutes they made the bye-line again. this time the cross was deflected into the path of McLaren whose instant header wrong-footed Scott but missed target fortunately. Three minutes later McManus' long free kick was latched onto by McLaren who almost slipped it back past Scott only for the keeper to twist and clutch the ball as it moved past him. This long period of Airdrie dominance culminated in an astonishing error by referee Colin Hardie on 58 minutes. Brian McPhee appeared to be clean in on goal when he was hauled back by the arm by Jim Thomson. It might have been a penalty but it was most certainly a straight red card offence only for the hapless Hardie to wave play on, presumably because he didn't see it! Queens sadly didn't use their luck to climb back into the game although they almost scored just after the hour mark. McManus carelessly gave away a right sided corner which was over-hit by Payne but chased to the touchline by Jim Thomson who not only caught it but also turned on a sixpence to leave three home players chasing shadows before delivering a superb cross into the box which was headed narrowly wide across goal by Gary Wood. We had to look twice but it was most definitely Jim Thomson playing the wingers role!

Match action
Ian McCall decided to make his last change and have a look at Stuart Hill on 66 minutes. On he came for Eric Paton which meant more positional changes ; Hill took Wood's slot in the back three, Gary Wood moved up front to partner McNiven and John O'Neill dropped into the central midfield position vacated by Paton. Eight minutes after coming on Stuart Hill somewhat controversially picked up the game's only booking when he caught McPhee from behind. It was a little strange because although he did make the challenge from the back, he appeared to take the ball cleanly enough and, even if it was a foul a booking for a player only just on the park for his first foul seemed harsh. McPhee though took exception to it and the bad blood from that contest carried over and later in the match McPhee ran to make gestures and have words with young Hill after his goals.

The match was finished as a contest on 79 minutes when Lovell's error was pounced upon by Prunty who played in Brian McPhee for an easy finish in the bottom left corner under Scott again. Sandy Stewart immediately started making his allowed changes and David Dunn came on to replace Neil McGowan. McPhee could have doubled his tally on 80 minutes when his turn and shot in the box flew straight at Scott instead of to either side of him. Airdrie then made their second switch with Graeme Holmes replacing Stephen McKeown and with five minutes to go they completed them by replacing Prunty with Stephen McDougall. A minute later they completed the scoring too when Stephen Payne tried a far too ambitious cross-field ball which found only Brian McPhee lurking in the middle of the pitch and he strode forward to hammer a fourth goal into the roof of the net. It could still have gotten worse for Queens as in the final minute McPhee's shot was well saved by Scott and McDougall turned the rebound home having followed the shot in with no defender near him but fortunately the assistant referee adjudged him to have moved too early and stuck his offside flag up.

With Airdrie's victory removing them from any hint of involvement in the relegation shake up in the foreseeable future and Stranraer's home point against Dundee meaning they are now effeectively more than two wins clear of us it's going to be a long hard fight to get any further up this table and avoid the play-offs or worse. We need to display a better appetite for that fight than we did today.

Ewan Lithgow
Photographs - David Gow

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