QUEEN of the South became the first side to secure a senior championship in Britain this season and they clinched their Second Division crown in style by defeating Brechin 6-0 at Station Park in Forfar.
Scorers: Queen of the South: Clark (1, 42) Paton (3, 36) Moyes (18,og) Reilly (57)
The Doonhamers, who had secured the only two other titles in their history at the Angus ground back in 1951 and 2002, with wins over Forfar, were rampant from the first whistle as they completed their unique hat-trick against the only side that remained in contention.
They may also have created another piece of history by becoming the first title winners whilst banks of snow are still surrounding a pitch. Glebe Park was unplayable, hence the switch to nearby Station Park.
Brechin had been on a fine run of their own, with only one defeat in the 17 games that Ray McKinnon has been in charge for. But they wilted as Queens wrapped up win number 25 of the season by racing to a five-goal lead at half-time.
A delighted Allan Johnston said: “The start to the game sums up our season. The boys were fired up for the game and they went out and performed to the same high standard we have all season. That is 80 goals for us in the league and that is a great achievement. We created great chances against a side that have only lost once in 17 games. I am sure that the fans they travelled up will have been delighted with the performance.”
Johnston added: “The target at the start of the season was to win the league and we have done that now with a remarkably high level of consistency. We have the Ramsdens Cup Final coming up against Partick Thistle and we will need that level of performance to win a double.”
“I would like to thank the players for their efforts all season. All the credit should go to them.”
Johnston’s side went about getting the three points required in quick style and they opened the scoring after just 52 seconds.
Gavin Reilly was fouled on the left wing and Chris Mitchell curled a free kick to the back post where Nicky Clark had peeled away from his marker. The striker first-timed a volley home for goal number 32 of his season, despite the despairing efforts of former Queens player Gerry McLauchlan on the goalline. Within two minutes, former Aberdeen striker Michael Paton hared down the left and, after cutting inside to put the ball on to his right foot, he curled a shot home from 18 yards that home goalkeeper Michael Andrews lost in flight. That did not matter to the Queen’s players or their fans, who were already enjoying their late winter wonderland party as the title came within touching distance.
David McKenna threatened to spoil the atmosphere on 15 minutes when his 19-yard free-kick beat the visiting wall and looked set for the top corner until just passing wide at the last minute. And it was 3-0 to Queen’s four minutes later, although this one had a touch of good fortune, as another Mitchell free-kick from the left came off the heel of Brechin defender Ewan Moyes and spun into the air and past Andrews.
Clark headed a corner just over and Andrews saved a Reilly lob before Paton marked his first start for the Palmerston men with a second goal on 36 minutes. The striker had an effort charged down, but he regained his composure and created space before firing in a fierce effort high into the net from 20 yards.
The travelling fans could not believe how well the night had gone, and it got even better for them minutes from half-time when Kevin Holt rolled the ball across the face of the home goal and Clark stuck out a foot to turn the ball over the line from a couple of yards out.
Queen’s showed no signs of slacking in the second half and in 57 minutes Reilly got on the score-sheet when he won the ball in a race with Andrews after a passback fell short and rolled it into the empty net.
The home side were reduced to ten with 14 minutes to go as McLauchlan, who had picked up a yellow card in the first half, clattered into Gibson and knew he was being dismissed long before his second yellow was shown.
Brechin City: Andrews, McLauchlan, McLean, Hay, Moyes (Pursehouse 55), Fusco, Trouten, Brady, Jackson, McKenna (J Stewart 58), Carcary (R Stewart 72).
Queen of the South: Robinson, Mitchell, Holt, Dur an (McGuffie 60), Higgins, Burns, Carmichael (Gibson 66), McKenna, Reilly, Clark (Lyle 78), Paton.