A star shone brightly on the only previous occasion that Queen’s Park played in the semi-final of the Challenge Cup back in August 2002. But it was not on the football pitch that he was to find his feet.
The Spiders lost 4-3 to Brechin City after going ahead thanks to a goal by the stellar James Allan, who has gained more fame and fortune as the lead singer of indie rock band Glasvegas than he ever could have while playing for Queen’s Park.
The only link between Allan and the squad that will face Peterhead at Hampden today for a place in the final is club skipper Tony Quinn. He remembers the game well and Allan’s performance in it.
Quinn said: “Brechin were strong at that time and doing well in the league above us. We were not doing so well but we gave them a right game of it. Craig Taggart and James Allan were terrific for us that night. They were two really forward thinking players who took the game to Brechin.
“Craig was a Glasgow boy who wanted back down the road after playing at Ross County. We had not seen much of the ability he had until that night when he showed us what he could do.”
Allan was to go on to become better known for his singing. Said Quinn: “James had played at a good level as a youth player and he always had a swagger about him. He had a couple of good seasons with us before moving on to Gretna, Stirling Albion and Dumbarton.
“I played in the same St Mungo’s School football team as James, despite being a couple of years younger than him. “He was a full-timer at Falkirk when he left school but music was a big love of his and he played in bands all the time I knew him.”
Allan’s team-mates at Hampden needed some convincing that he was the real deal on stage. However he won them over, as Quinn explained: “We were a bit sceptical but one night we went to see him in the Cathouse in Glasgow. It was a grungy rock venue and 15 of us were there to see him, including me who had a broken leg at the time.
“We knew that night he was going to be a star in music. He just needed a break and he got it with Glasvegas.”
The pair shared a moment at the National Stadium several years after the Brechin semi-final as Allan’s band were the warm-up act for U2. Quinn explained: “One of the boys at Queen’s with us was Paul Borland who later took his own life. Before James sung Daddy’s Gone at the concert he dedicated it to Paul and talked about playing with him at Hampden. I don’t know about James but tears were rolling down my face.”
Quinn added: “He is in Miami now and I am still at Hampden. Hopefully, despite being worlds apart, he will be looking to see how Queen’s get on this weekend.”
Quinn also scored against Brechin but the records have it down as a Jonny Whelan goal and he now wants to put the record straight.: “For 13 years I have been waiting to get credited with that goal,” he said. “Jonny has had it all that time but it was mine.”
A troublesome hip injury will keep Quinn from making today’s game and he said: “This is our first semi-final since then and I am gutted to be missing out. They do not come along very often and I have told the players to make the most of it.”