'Dundee need to go up' - Queens' Owen Coyle dollops pressure on rivals ahead of title decider
More a comment on how the wily 56-year-old chooses to sketch out the elements at play when the pair face off at Queen’s temporary home of Ochilview on Friday evening to determine which of them secures automatic promotion … and avoids the treacherous play-offs. He does so in a manner that seems deliberately designed to give Gary Bowyer’s men the jitters. It was 1948 that top-flight status was last enjoyed by Queens. An anomalous club as Scotland’s oldest and original powerhouse – with 10 Scottish Cup successes in the first 18 years of organised football – renowned for amateur status and their residence at Hampden. Ended when they sold it to SFA in 2020 in anticipation of moving to a Lesser Hampden that remains under redevelopment. Meanwhile, it was only last season they finished 28 points adrift of League One champions Cove Rangers before navigating a path to the second tier via the play-offs.
Coyle sets out these facts – and a whole lot more – to emphasise how his club should not have had an earthly of pushing Dundee this season. Even as he acknowledges, to a point, the heavy financial backing of in-the-background benefactor Willie Haughey. Support that has led to charges of Queens mounting a chequebook-challenge as a club with a tiny fanbase that only turned professional in 2019. “For me, it’s a fantastic football story but you get people online or whatever, who will think differently,” said the former Burnley and St Johnstone manager, who maintains their tilt for the top tier hasn’t come too soon. ”There has been huge investment, but it’s in the infrastructure of the club. We have the same budget as we had in League One.”
One that should have led to them being obliterated by the Dens Park side, as opposed to ending up a mere two points behind them going into the final league encounter. As a result, he dollops the pressure on the Tayside club he considers will deem elite standing in the Scottish game a necessity. And, for good measure, provides a form guide to put the frighteners on them. “Financially, I’d think Dundee need to go up,” he said. “They have a Premiership budget in the Championship and it dwarves everybody else in the league by three or four times. When you look at their squad and players, a lot of people would have thought they’d have the league wrapped up by January. Obviously, whoever doesn’t get the result drops into the play-off, but we’re not thinking about that. We are at home – our home from home – against a team that have won one game away from home since December.
" Dundee have been terrific but their best form has been at home. Away from home, not so much. We’ve played them at Stenhousemuir in a 2-2 draw we should have won, so we know when we’re at our best we can win. We’ve won more games than anybody in the league. We are more suited to having to win. We have the least draws. There are some losses but that’s because we’ve been trying to win games – and that’s what we have to do on Friday. We are where we are on merit.”
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.