A Ross Campbell double kept Montrose’s dream of playing in the second tier of Scottish football alive while leaving Queen of the South in danger of relegation.
The Doonhamers will have to recover on Saturday to remain in the Championship after the League 1 outfit claimed a deserved win in this play-off semi-final first leg.
Queens almost got an early goal when Lyndon Dykes hit the woodwork and in the 24th minute Josh Todd’s shot was saved by Allan Fleming.
Montrose conjured up two opportunities as half-time approached but Euan Henderson was off target with both efforts. Then Iain Campbell sent a 25-yard free kick over the bar as the Gable Endies grew in confidence and that paid dividends when Ross Campbell, pictured, latched onto a loose ball and swept it home.
Queens responded on the restart with Fraser Aird sending a shot inches wide before a Callum Fordyce header was also just off target. They drew level in spectacular style when Connor Murray sent a long-range shot into the top right-hand corner, but the lead lasted just a minute before Campbell produced a near carbon copy of his opener. Terry Masson’s late shot against the bar almost made it 3-1.