toon history is made at hampden


History was made at Hampden Park on Saturday as the Blue Toon made it to their first ever national cup final.

Cheered on by a noisy away support, first half goals from the prolific Rory McAllister and another from Leighton McIntosh gave them an advantage that they rarely looked like losing although failure to score a killer third goal meant some nervous second half moments for their fans.

Peterhead's Rory McAllister celebrates his opener.

Peterhead's Rory McAllister celebrates his opener.

Cammy Kerr was missing from the Peterhead squad suspended and was joined in the Stand by the injured Simon Ferry and Jamie Stevenson.

The opening minutes saw The Spiders dominate and the rangy, pony-tailed Chris Duggan looked like being a handful for the visitors defence which included on-loan youngster Jassem Sukar.

A couple of efforts from Duggan then Tony Ralston summed up their day, close but not really a serious threat to the goal of Graeme Smith who barely had a save of note in the entire 90 minutes.

Peterhead may have had less of the ball in the opening quarter of an hour but when they broke forward it was with purpose and took a 17th minute lead with their first shot on target.

Inevitably it involved McAllister who has now scored in every round including that fantastic five at Falkirk. He incensed the home fans by going down a little too easily for their liking a couple of yards outside the penalty box, dead in line with the centre of the goal.

Jordan Brown stepped over the ball and McAllister picked his spot to drive it beyond the unsighted Willie Muir and into the bottom right corner.

Queens Park were plucky throughout the game and none more so when the Division Two side pulled level five minutes later.

The challenge by Ryan Strachan on Sean Burns could be argued to have been as soft as that on McAllister but referee Don Robertson saw enough to point to the spot and Paul Woods made an immaculate job with the penalty kick sending Smith the wrong way.

Another five minutes later though and they were back to square one as the visitors re-took the lead with another clinical effort.

The tricky Nicky Riley was brought down by the left touchline on the left wing. Kevin Dzierzawski drilled the free kick deep into the area where it made its way to McIntosh at the back post and he spun before lashing an unstoppable shot from a tight angle into the net.

The Blue Toon had chances to extend their lead before the break. Jamie Redman almost had too much time to let a clearance drop to shooting level and then ballooned the ball wildly over.

A McIntosh cross was headed wide by McAllister then just before half time Brown volleyed another McIntosh cross goalward and Muir did will to save low to his left.

The second half was a cagey affair.

Had Peterhead come out and grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and scored a third the match would have been settled but instead they seemed content to sit back and hit on the break giving a nippy Queen’s side the initiative for long spells.

All three Blue Toon subs were sent on and one of them, Shane Sutherland shot into the side netting after Brown had earlier just failed to connect with a cross into the 6 yard box.

In the dying moments Jamie McKerron was sent off for speaking out of turn and a long-range effort whistled narrow past for the home side but extra time was not to be required as the Peterhead players and fans celebrated.

The final will certainly be one to look forward to albeit almost as the season will be drawing to a close.

Rangers host St Mirren in two weeks with the winner determining whether the final will be played at Hampden Park or a smaller venue on April 10.

Speaking after the game, goalscorer Rory McAllister said: “It wasn’t our best performance but we are just glad to have made it to the final.

“We would have a better chance if it is St Mirren we were playing but players want to test themselves against the best teams so we would be happy if it was Rangers.

“The people at Peterhead put in a lot of work behind the scenes.

“It is a real family club and it will be good for them to enjoy a day out.

“At the free kick the keeper stood too far to his right and his view was blocked by the wall and I saw the gap and just put it there and fortunately it went in “

Manager Jim McInally added: “It’s a great feeling. I don’t think we played particularly well but we seen the game out in the second half.

“I had a few words at half time as I felt we were conceding too many chances but we came out in the second half and were comfortable without playing too well.

“Semi finals are so hard to win and everybody was nervous.