Peterhead put in a performance worthy of the national stadium as they hammered bottom side Queen’s Park 5-0, writes Joshua King.
Two special goals from in-form Andy Rodgers and one apiece from Graeme Sharp, Bryan Gilfillan and Rory McAllister gave Jim McInally’s team a deserved victory.
Equally pleasing to manager McInally is that his Blue Toon kept a clean sheet for the first time this season.
“The second half was a very powerful performance, but us winning 2-0 at half time was an injustice to Queen’s Park.
“They went with three up front and that caused us problems as far as we weren’t expecting it in the way we’d set up.
“I think to come in at 2-0 wasn’t deserved.
“But I thought in the second half we were really at it, in their faces, pressed them high and you could see Queen’s confidence straining.
“We fully deserved our second half score.”
After the match McInally reserved special praise for midfielder Dean Cowie, describing the 26-year-old as ‘magnificent.’
And it was the boy from the North East who set the tone for Peterhead’s performance on a crisp day at the national stadium, sending an audacious volley into the crowded box in the second minute.
The visitors bossed the early exchanges with captain Steven Noble linking up well with Jamie Redman down the left.
Five minutes later a neat exchange between Cowie and Rory McAllister on the edge of the box set up McAllister for a shot but he blazed it over.
At the back, new Toon signing coach Craig Tully marshalled the defence with typical vigour and his shouts could be heard ringing around the ground.
While Peterhead used a mixture of long and short balls to exploit the space on a huge Hampden pitch, Queen’s Park doggedly refused to go long.
In many ways, the Spiders play epitomised the style of football many of the Balmoor faithful have demanded from the boys in blue this year.
By the 10th minute the momentum had shifted to the home side and midfielder David Anderson worked the ball well down the right channel.
By now both managers were out in their technical areas for the first time, barking orders to their charges.
Throughout the first 20 minutes strike partners Rodgers and McAllister showed the telepathy praised by McInally two weeks ago, working the ball round defenders with consummate ease.
Rodgers - ever the the pantomime villain - was particularly impressive and drew boos from the fearsome home support.
In the 24 minute he improvised from a mis-hit Graeme Sharp corner and backheeled past Birnstingl in the Spiders’ goal.
Within 10 minutes the visitors had doubled their advantage.
Wingback Sharp drove into the box from the right touchline and, ignoring McAllister in space in the box, slotted in his first goal since March of last year.
McInally’s new 3-5-2 formation was paying off - with Rodgers partnering McAllister, the pair always looked a threat and with the addition of the experienced Tully in central defence, Noble and Sharp both had license to roam forwards.
Queen’s Park’s Liam Gormley impressed in the first period, so much so Reece Donaldson and Redman doubled up to mark him.
Peterhead went in 2-0 ahead at the break.
Although the home side shot twice in the opening moments of the second half, Rodgers put the game beyond Queen’s Park when he silenced the home support with a goal from 35 yards out.
Soon after Bryan Gilfillan collected a cross Birinstinfil failed to clear effectively and poked in to make it 4-0.
Dean Cowie then topped off a dominant midfield performance by sliding a diagnonal ball through to McAllister who, to no one’s surpise, stamped his name on the score sheet.
Though not a surprise result, the 5-0 full time scoreline reafirmed Peterhead’s title credentials
Peterhead: Smith, Sharp, Noble, Donaldson (Richardson), Tully, Ross, Gilfillan (Brown), Redman, McAllister, Rodgers (McLaren).
Unused: Jarvie (gk), McCann, Buchan, McGlinchey.
Referee - Craig Charleston
Attendance - 447