BY DARREN JOHNSTONE – Capital City Press
Queens Park manager Gus MacPherson shared the pain of a nation when he watched Scotland’s Euro 2016 dream come to an agonising end at Hampden on Thursday.
But at the same venue today, MacPherson is hoping he is left cheering a memorable victory for the Spiders when they take on Elgin City in the quarter-final of the Petrofac Training Cup.
MacPherson, who attended the agonising 2-2 draw with Poland at the national stadium, admits his side have a great chance to keep their cup hopes alive.
He said: “We gave a good account of ourselves against Dumbarton in the previous round when we beat them after extra-time and we have a fantastic opportunity to progress.
“Jim Weir will be saying exactly the same in the Elgin dressing room. Who knows who you’ll be drawn against if you get that chance to play in the semi-finals.
“It takes on a familiar feeling because it’s a League Two club we’re playing, but a completely different prize on offer for both clubs.
“I think that in itself will be the motivation for both sets of players to try and progress into the semi-finals.”
Scotland contributed to a compelling game of football against Poland on a pristine Hampden pitch and MacPherson insists the surface will be just as good for the League Two clubs.
He added: “We’re at home and hopefully that is a major advantage for us.
“We’re very lucky that we get to play on a playing surface like Hampden.
“We get the benefit of playing on it after the Scotland game and it will be the same on Saturday, it’s only two days after the international.
‘”Hopefully on a surface like that we can play the style of football that we want.
“It’s a very firm, fast-playing surface and we won’t have any problems with that.
“Because of the quality of the pitch and the surroundings, teams come and raise their game and we have to deal with that.”
Elgin City manager Jim Weir, meanwhile, is looking for his side to make amends following last month’s 3-1 league defeat at Queens Park.
Weir said: “It’s a good opportunity to get to a semi-final although it will be a difficult game.
“We have to learn from our league defeat there. We did okay initially before getting a man sent-off and then our goalkeeper (Mark Hurst) made a mistake for a goal.
“Our away form has not been great this season so that is something we will be looking to put right.”