BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
Annan Athletic boss Jim Chapman insists his side have done themselves proud this season regardless of the outcome this afternoon as the Galabankies go gunning for goals against Queen’s Park.
Just three points separate the second-placed Spiders and Annan, in fifth spot, as the tightest playoff race in the SPFL reaches its thrilling conclusion.
With Queen’s Park boasting a superior goal difference of four, a two-goal win for Annan would see them leapfrog Gus McPherson’s side into the top four by virtue of having scored more this term.
Chapman knows he might come in for some stick if his charges ultimately come up short – but after a campaign which included a 4-1 Scottish Cup win over Hamilton, he would consider it a successful season.
He said: “I’ve been very proud of everything this group of boys has achieved. If someone had said at the start of the season that we would have an opportunity on the final day to get into the playoffs, then a lot of clubs in our position would take that.
“There are mixed emotions, because we have done so well, and spent so long in the top four, and yet we find ourselves in the position of having to win – and by a couple of goals – on the last day.
“But, despite the disappointments and challenges we have had, to still be in with a chance of a playoff place on the final day is a testament to how well we have done. If you listen to the doom and gloom brigade you would think we are miles off the pace.
“Everyone will view it differently, but in reality I think this has been another good season given the resources we have here. We have developed players, we have helped a couple towards their coaching aspirations. There are a few young players who will move onto bigger things and, whether we finish in the top four or just miss out, I see this as a job well done.
“However, we are all desperate to finish it off with a place in the playoffs.”
With Annan the top scorers in the division with 68 and Queen’s Park boasting the most miserly defence with just 31 conceded, the clash is teed up perfectly.
And he will be ready to sound the bugle in the closing stages if necessary.
He added: “There might come a stage at the day when it is completely win or bust and we’ll need to go for the throat and, although we know they don’t give much away, we are more than capable of scoring.
“One thing will be absolutely certain: if we fail then it will not be due to a lack of effort, desire or attacking intent.”