He had only just signalled to the technical area to be excused the last eight or nine minutes but, to Caley Thistle’s great misfortune, Stephen Dobbie, pictured, stayed on the field.
Heading for only their second home league win of the season through a Tom Walsh opener, it all went pear-shaped for the Highlanders with seven minutes left.
Scott Mercer levelled and then a Brad Mckay mistake paved the way for Dobbie’s 30th goal of the remarkable campaign, the decisive moment in only his second game back from last month’s hamstring injury.
The Doonhamers showed adventure while the hosts passed up chances galore and hit the woodwork twice.
Queens’ manager Gary Naysmith admitted: “I tried to play it down when Stephen Dobbie wasn’t available through December, but you’re going to miss him.
“The team did great in his absence but, when he comes back he gives us a boost and puts a bit of fear into the opposition. It was great character from the team. To come back with not just one, but two goals, is a credit to the players.”
Caley Thistle had a Jordan White header blocked on the line, but a few minutes later Queens had a strong penalty claim waved away.
Caley Thistle finally made the breakthrough after 69 minutes when Carl Tremarco’s ball across from the left was headed back the way by striker White for Walsh to tuck away low.
But an incredible collapse was coming. With seven minutes left, Jordan Marshall’s powerful ball across goal was bundled in from a couple of yards by Mercer and, from the very next attack, home defender Mckay lost the ball and slipped to allow Dobbie to tear forward on the left, cut inside and strike low from eight yards.