2004/05 Season Review
A serialised account of our season by our man who has been at every match home and away - Ewan Lithgow
This club we all love just continues to grow from strength to strength and defy all the pundits who keep expecting us to be fighting relegation. Well, this club is now an established first division club and intent on being here for a while and the progress begun by John Connolly was built on by Iain Scott. The 4th place we ended up in equates to 16th in Scottish football and the last time we finished any better than that was in 1963, probably before most of us were born!
It was a season that started poorly but began to show signs of a real challenge before a winter collapse almost saw us sucked into a relegation contest. However, a late season rediscovery of form saw a surge up to 4th spot and a party in the sun at Falkirk. It was a season that saw the club move forward in so many ways and the usual personnel changes, although maybe not as many as before, especially at season's end. It was a season of highs and lows but ended very much on the positive again.

It was a season that began last summer………..
Part One - Summer 2004
The close season saw a number of comings and goings at Palmerston as it always does. Under Iain Scott and the Chairmanship of David Rae dealings at the club have been much more open than in the past and the club were quite open about some of the targets they went for and didn't get in the summer. Mixu Paatelainen, Ian Harty (for whom a club record transfer fee had been agreed), Paul Robinson and Daryl Duffy were all among the names who turned down moves to Queens. There was also a bizarre deal whereby Derek Lyle was re-signed by the club to a one year deal but immediately loaned to Dunfermline for six months to see if he could cut it in the SPL. Eventually that deal was renegotiated as a permanent deal so that the Pars could bring in another loan player but Lyle would still be back before Christmas.

David McNiven
Joining up though were Tommy English, a left back formerly with Partick Thistle and Livingston, Chris Scott, a right back formerly with Sunderland and David McNiven, a striker who had top scored with Leigh RMI in the Conference last season and was being chased by some English league clubs. Also re-joining were Brian McLaughlin after a year long sabbatical at St Johnstone and Craig Samson, renewing last season's loan deal from Kilmarnock.

We also saw the first moves in what became an all too common trend for the season; John Connolly attempting to poach his former players for St Johnstone. Two bids for Steve Bowey were turned down in June with the player eventually having to publicly state he had no interest in the move before the correspondence ceased.
The pre-season friendlies began with a low key match at Kirkcudbright against St Cuthbert's Wanderers. Queens won 9-0 with goals from Scott Robertson, Stephen Payne, David McNiven (2), Jim Thomson, Brian McLaughlin, Adam Smith, David Bagan and Stephen Tarditi. Smith was a former Sunderland forward who, despite his goal, was never seen again whilst Tarditi was a former Aberdeen forward who also failed to show again and would eventually sign for East Fife. Also playing in this match as trialists were former Stranraer midfielder Billy McDonald and one time Hibernian and Berwick defender Paul Hilland.

The following Saturday brought a trip down to Barrow for a much more challenging game. It finished 1-1 though Queens, much further along in their pre-season, dominated throughout and should have won. The goalscorer was Billy McDonald thirty seconds after coming on as a substitute. However, he injured his cruciate ligament in the act of scoring the goal and would not kick a single ball for the rest of the season. On the Monday after the game Hilland was confirmed as the latest recruit on a one year deal.

The following midweek saw what was technically slated on the fixture list as a first team friendly at Threave Rovers. However, recognising that there was little to be gained by sending a first team squad to Castle Douglas, Iain Scott sent what was fundamentally an under 19 side containing only three players (Willie Gibson, Paul Burns and Stephen Payne) who had ever seen first team action whilst a mix up with young Graeme Wright meant no goalkeeper was included and centre half Stuart Hill played in goal. Never the less, a 1-1 draw was achieved with Stephen Payne's magnificent strike making the trip worthwhile for those who made it.
The weekend brought a much more significant challenge with SPL side Dunfermline Athletic guests at Palmerston. David McNiven scored first for Queens and Steve Bowey missed a sitter to double the advantage before Billy Mehmet equalised for the visitors in the second half. A 1-1 draw was secured when Jim Thomson cleared a late Derek Lyle header off the line.

The opponents continued to get more difficult the following Wednesday with the visit of a young Newcastle United side. It may have been a reserve side with few famous names but it was still way too good for Queens and contained Steven Taylor who was a regular in their first team by the end of the season. On the night Newcastle ran out comfortable 3-1 winners, Stephen Payne striking another spectacular goal as consolation late in the second half.

Action versus the Pars
The pre-season build up was completed with a trip to newly promoted Chester City, a first trip away to an English league side in over a decade. Manager Iain Scott flew away on a family holiday that had been booked long before his appointment as manager on the morning of the game but Warren Pearson took care of the side in a 2-2 draw that owed much to a late and determined comeback. Trailing 2-0 to the hosts Gary Wood headed home a Brian Reid cross before Paul Burns scored a simply magnificent leveller.

Finally, on the very eve of the season, the signing of a new forward was announced. Chris Armstrong was a former Leeds United player who was signed up from Rochdale for £5,000.

Ewan Lithgow
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10

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