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Who are Queen of the South?

Queen of the South fans
The Dumfries side hopes to secure the Scottish Cup after reaching the final of the competition for the first time

By Giancarlo Rinaldi
South of Scotland reporter, BBC Scotland news website

For a town the size of Dumfries a following of 15,000 fans stands comparison with any other exodus of supporters.

But what are the chances of the Doonhamers beating Rangers and bringing the Scottish Cup back down the M74 on Saturday night?

THE HISTORY

Queen of the South were formed in 1919 by a merger of Dumfries FC, factory side Arrol Johnston and the 5th King's Own Scottish Borderers football team.

It would be fair to say the following 89 years for the south of Scotland side have not been trophy-packed.

However, the club can claim one of the most exotic names in the game.

It was taken from a speech made by a local MP who said he was proud to represent the "Queen of the South".

They also boast of being the only team in the bible - courtesy of passages contained in the gospels of Matthew and Luke.

"The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation," they read.

On the trophy front, they won Division Two in 1951 and famously (in Dumfries at least) led the old First Division at Christmas in 1953.

Then, in 1958, they made the first of just two Scottish Cup semi-final appearances in their history, only to lose to Rangers.

Their most glorious spell of the modern era came in 2002, however, when they won the Scottish Second Division and the Challenge Cup.

Weigh that up against Rangers' trophy haul and you get an idea of the scale of the task facing Queens at Hampden.

THE CUP RUN

Steve Tosh and Ryan McCann
Steve Tosh and Ryan McCann celebrate the cup win over Aberdeen

An away trip to Peterhead was just the kind of tie Queen of the South had slipped up in during previous Scottish Cup campaigns.

However, a resounding 5-0 victory in November saw them start the long journey to Hampden in some style.

It was the first of an impressive run of results in which Gordon Chisholm's men kept a string of clean sheets.

Linlithgow Rose were defeated 4-0 at Palmerston, Morton were overcome 2-0 in Greenock and Dundee lost 2-0 in Dumfries.

It set up a semi-final clash with Aberdeen that has been widely accepted as a classic.

Three times Queens took the lead only to be hauled back three times before John Stewart finally clinched the win.

At the end of 90 amazing minutes, the 4-3 scoreline could scarcely be believed by either set of supporters.

So, at least one thing is clear, the Doonhamers have a lot of character.

THE FARMER ON A MISSION

Davie Rae
Retired farmer Davie Rae has become a cult hero at Palmerston

Davie Rae was a successful farmer before he used the money he had made in his agricultural career to fund his dream of running Queen of the South.

He has seen his team struggle at times near the bottom end of the First Division.

However, this campaign under Gordon Chisholm, the chairman made the brave decision to turn the team full-time and it has paid dividends.

They put together a run of league results that hauled them rapidly up the table and saw them progress in the cup.

Throughout his reign at Palmerston, Rae has been keen to see the club live within their means and build sustainable success.

His celebration with the fans after the quarter-final win against Dundee cemented his status as a cult hero with the Doonhamer support.

Watch out for a few Davie Rae wigs at Hampden.

THE MANAGER

Gordon Chisholm had been working as Ian McCall's deputy at Palmerston when he stepped up to the top job.

The former Dundee United gaffer did not get the desired results straight away as the team struggled to find the net.

Moving Stevie Tosh to the heart of the team, however, seemed to transform their fortunes.

By the end of the season, he had created one of the most attractive teams to watch in the Scottish First Division with goal threats from throughout the side.

THE PLAYERS

Sean O'Connor
Sean O'Connor has proved a tough man to mark this season

Queens play a classic 4-4-2 formation with Andy Aitken and skipper Jim Thomson forming a solid central defensive pairing.

Enterprising youngster Bob Harris and 84-yard goal specialist Ryan McCann fill the full-back roles.

On-loan Hearts goalkeeper Jamie McDonald has also enjoyed a fine season once a regular back four was established.

Stevie Tosh provides the creativity in midfield, while Neil MacFarlane has grown in stature in his grafter's role as the season has progressed.

They are usually joined by Paul Burns and Jamie McQuilken in wider positions.

Finally, in attack, Sean O'Connor is a handful for any defence while ex-Hibs man Stephen Dobbie has proved one of Scottish football's sharpest finishers.

If Rangers are at all jaded from their multi-match exertions of recent weeks then Queens might just have the materials to take advantage.

And that would certainly make the 75-mile trip "doon hame" a more pleasant one for their support.




see also
Scottish Cup comedy: The Game
24 May 08 |  Scotland
Queens eye Scottish Cup surprise
23 May 08 |  Scottish Cups
Queen of the South v Rangers
23 May 08 |  Scottish Cups
Doonhamers - the players in profile
22 May 08 |  Queen of the South
Queens aim to be sharp for final
20 May 08 |  Queen of the South
Queens sell out cup ticket share
15 May 08 |  South of Scotland
Dougal to ref Scottish Cup final
09 May 08 |  Scottish Cups
Chisholm joy for historic Queens
12 Apr 08 |  Queen of the South
Queen of the South 4-3 Aberdeen
12 Apr 08 |  Scottish Cups
Queens heroes enter legend
12 Apr 08 |  Queen of the South


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