2002/03 Back in the First
A serialised account of our season by our man who has been at almost every match home and away - Ewan Lithgow
Part Seven - December
December was to be a much less successful month on the field, full of "what ifs?" It began with a disappointing home draw with Alloa who had begun to show a bit of form at long last. Although Queens dominated the opening half it was the visitors who took the lead with Hutchison taking advantage of a deflection of Jim Thomson to score. In the second half though the visitors might have added to their lead and indeed Steven Thomson had a goal (rightly) ruled out for handball. However, wee Brian McLaughlin rescued a point ten minutes from time with a brilliantly executed chip. The match was notable also for Formula One racing star Alan McNish taking it in as part of his stag weekend which saw a number of prominent motor racing figures, including Dario Franchetti, in the crowd.

A week later we travelled to St Johnstone with much press speculation that a Queens victory would lead to Billy Stark's sacking and our own John Connolly taking over. Queens played superbly for ninety minutes and established a 2-0 lead that was fully deserved with goals from Paton and Bowey, both set up by the sublime McLaughlin. Unfortunately on the day the game lasted 93 minutes and the Perth side somehow contrived to score twice in injury time through McCann and Reilly to snatch an undeserved point. Sean O'Connor broke a bone in his foot during the game though he played on with it for a time. The next day a number of Queens players and staff staged a "meet and greet" session for the public in the High Street, freely signing autographs and posing for pictures along with the two trophies.

Trophies and players on show up the High Street

With an inch and a half of snow on Palmerston the following weekend's home game with Clyde fell victim to the winter weather so there would be no more football before Christmas. Sadly, the postponement also meant Robbie Neilson had played his last game for the club. He had been due to serve a suspension in the game but return for the December 28th trip to Falkirk. The snow meant he would instead be suspended for that game before returning to Hearts on January 1st.

In the event Queens didn't actually play all that badly at Falkirk in the final game of a special year. However, Falkirk were sensational and showed some of their best form of the season in trouncing us by five goals to nil. Lee Miller, John Henry, Owen Coyle and Collin Samuel (2) did the damage this time.

With only two points gathered in the month it was perhaps surprising that we maintained 6th spot in the League as 2003 arrived but, with 23 points from 19 games, we led Ross County and St Mirren by just a point and trailed Ayr by three. We were still ten points clear of 9th placed Arbroath though.

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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