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Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Saturday, 12 April 2008 17:35 UK

Queens heroes enter legend

By Clive Lindsay

Interview: Queen of the South captain Jim Thomson

After 90 scintillating minutes at Hampden, the squad of 2008 have taken a major step towards eclipsing Hughie Gallacher as the most famous player ever to play for Queen of the South.

Gallacher started his senior career with the Doonhamers in 1920 before going on to become a legend for Newcastle and Scotland, for whom he was one of the Wembley Wizards who beat England 5-1 in 1928.

Billy Houliston and Jim Patterson were both capped for Scotland while playing for the Dumfries outfit during the 40s.

Four decades on, the Tin Man, Ted McMinn, left Palmerston to become an unlikely hero for Rangers.

But Saturday's surprise 4-3 defeat of Aberdeen has taken the men presently playing in the blue and white to where no Queens player has been before.

Just by stepping on to the Hampden Park pitch they were reaching a stage last achieved by the club 58 years ago.

In defeating a Scottish Premier League side who have drawn with the might of Bayern Munich in European competition this season, they not only overcame substantial odds but secured the club's first ever appearance in a Scottish Cup final.

Now Uefa Cup qualification of their own beckons should Champions League-bound Rangers defeat Partick Thistle in Sunday's delayed quarter-final then the awaiting St Johnstone.

"Inter Milan at Palmerston," proclaimed an excited Queens manager, Gordon Chisholm, at the national stadium. Not quite, as Inter seem destined to be in the same draw as Rangers, but we knew what he meant - and AC are now a possibility.

Chisholm said it was a vindication of the support he had been given by chairman Davie Rae since taking charge.

"The chairman has backed me since I took charge last year with full-time football, going to train in Glasgow and going for players," he said.

Queens, who tasted success when winning the Challenge Cup (the competition involving teams outwith the SPL) in 2003, presently sit fourth in Division One.

So these are heady days for a club who have not been in Scotland's top flight since 1964.

Of course, it is the second time in three seasons that a First Division side will grace the climax to the Scottish football season.

South of Scotland rivals Gretna made their own slice of history two seasons ago by reaching their first national final too.

They only just missed out on becoming the first non-top-flight winners of the Scottish Cup since East Fife in 1938 after Hearts won a penalty shoot-out.

Now Queens have the chance to go one better and will hope that their time in the limelight does not coincide with the kind of financial timebomb that has plunged Gretna into administration after their promotion to the SPL.

The club formed in 1919 after an amalgamation of Dumfries FC, Maxwelltown Volunteers FC and works side Arrol-Johnston - and taking the name of the defunct Queen of the South Wanderers - appear to have been built on a sounder footing.

But, until now, Queen of the South have been most famous for being the only league club in the UK to get a mention in the Bible.

On 24 May at Hampden, they have a chance to write their very own entry in the history books.




see also
Chisholm joy for historic Queens
12 Apr 08 |  Queen of the South
Calderwood blast for beaten Dons
12 Apr 08 |  Aberdeen
Queen of the South 4-3 Aberdeen
12 Apr 08 |  Scottish Cups
Scottish Cup as it happened
12 Apr 08 |  Scottish Cups


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