Queen of the South defender Chris Higgins admits festive period crucial to their promotion hopes



Queen of the South defender Chris Higgins reckons the Doonhamers’ festive fixture schedule could determine whether they will be challenging for the Championship play-offs.

The Dumfries outfit travel to Morton this afternoon and are targeting a first victory in 12 outings to kick-start their league campaign.

New Queens manager Gary Naysmith has overseen a defeat to St Mirren and successive draws with Falkirk and Dunfermline since being appointed as Gavin Skelton’s successor.

And with a four point deficit on fourth place Morton to make up, centre-half Higgins insists forthcoming games against Ton, Ayr United and the Buddies are crucial.

He said: “The Christmas period is a vital one, I know everyone says that but it is.

“The manager will be looking to bring players in in January and we need to pick up results over Christmas and New Year.

“I think the next three or four games could be vital with regards to what we want to achieve this season, we want to be in the play-offs and our focus is on catching the teams above us.

“Hopefully we can get a positive result at Morton and enjoy our Christmas. We’ll go there and try and win the game.”

Higgins has welcomed the appointment of former Scotland, Everton and Hearts defender Naysmith and insists his clear vision has helped the player refocus following a woeful run of results.

He added: “He has come in and set his stall out from the first minute. He has played at a high level and he has come in and looked at each game individually. We all have that focus for a Saturday.

“He’s also into video analysis, which is a good thing. It’s a visual aid to show you what you need to be doing. It’s not about picking you out, it’s about trying to make everyone learn and improve.”

Morton manager Jim Duffy, meanwhile, insists last weekend’s 1-1 draw with leaders HIbs underlines that Ton can be handful for anyone in the league.

He said: “We’ve competed well with everyone in this division and that’s what we’re trying to stress to the players, not to be intimidated.

“I think we showed we’ve come along since the first game at Hibs and hopefully they can gain confidence from that and know that on our day, if we give that same effort and work ethic, we’ll make it hard for anyone.”