Alan Pattullo: Mystery hangs over Queen's Park's last-ever game at Hampden Park on what should be a hugely significant occasion for Scottish football

One of the most beloved quirks of Scottish football is the sheer number of players who can say they have played at the national stadium.

Queen's Park play a League Two match v Berwick Rangers at Hampden Park in 2016 - today could be their last-ever match at the stadium.
Queen's Park play a League Two match v Berwick Rangers at Hampden Park in 2016 - today could be their last-ever match at the stadium.

Those with no prospect of reaching a level where they might grace the Hampden turf in a cup final or an international match would circle the dates their team were due to play at Queen’s Park. They could then look forward to trying to score in the end where Zinedine Zidane once volleyed a Champions League-winning goal.

As for erstwhile amateurs Queen’s Park, their cup overfloweth. They get to play there every second weekend. Or at least they did. A temporary lease allowing the club, the former owners of Hampden Park and now just plain old SFA tenants, to continue playing at the stadium expires on 31 March.

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The resumption of football in the lower leagues this weekend means Queen's Park get to run out at their famous home one more time against Stranraer, another of Scotland's oldest clubs, this afternoon. After that, and with four more home games left, it looks like Ray McKinnon’s ambitious League 2 leaders will be making a temporary flit to share Broadwood stadium with Clyde.

We’ve been awaiting the day when Queen’s Park shake the Hampden mud from their boots for the very last time, so this should be pretty big news. A preview of the Stranraer game on the club’s official website contains no mention of the potentially historic significance of the occasion but does relay injury news.

The recruitment of chief executive Leeann Dempster from Hibs emphasised the club’s intention to operate professionally off the field as well as on it. Andy McNaught, a contributor to fans’ website The Web, is one of those frustrated at being left in the dark about what happens next amid reports that work on Lesser Hampden, where the club are due to play next season, has stalled. Most annoying of all is the lack of communication about whether they are saying farewell to their home for over a century today or not. Now no longer amateur, Queen's Park risk becoming just another club once they stop playing at Hampden.

“Queen’s Park are a club that always go on about history, probably to the annoyance of some people, but it is important history,” says McNaught.

“And yet this week when history seems especially pertinent there is no chat at all. They came out yesterday with a couple of signing announcements instead! For the last game to go ahead with no fans and no fanfare seems very sad. It’s a big part of Scottish football and has set the club apart from other teams at our level for an awful long time.”

McNaught’s plans are simple. He will log on to QPTV and watch a live steam of the game with a few beers. He then plans to toast Hampden on a Zoom call with some fellow fans following the final whistle.

Queen’s Park might have done a wretched job of spreading the news, but the stream is available for £10 via the club’s website if you want to witness some history. It’s not hard to imagine many, over and above supporters of the teams involved, wishing to do so. Dear old Bob Crampsey, very much a fan, will be looking down.

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