AS far as Friday night entertainment under the lights goes, this was more feast than famine. For starters, there was a red card for Dom Thomas, Paul McMullan scoring from the halfway line, and Derick Osei pouncing at the death to secure Dundee a point they hardly merited.
Queen’s Park – who for all the world looked like taking the points back to Glasgow when Tommy Robson scored to make it 2-1 – raged, certain the Frenchman had been offside. Chaos ensued. Thomas was given his marching orders for dissent. Lee Kilday had to be wrestled away from the linesman.
In the end, a draw seemed fair, and kept the hosts off top spot.
Hampden – as the Queen’s Park fans know all too well – Ochilview is not, but a couple of flowing moves suggested the Spiders were trying to capture those days of old (not that anyone other than Jacob Rees-Mogg can remember them).
Dom Thomas seemed like he was having one of those nights. Malachi Boateng looked every bit the player you’d expect of someone who’d spent the summer with the Crystal Palace first team. At times, it was all pretty effortless, and it was no surprise to see Jordan McGhee scythe him down after 30 minutes of chasing shadows.
That had come at the end of a period in which tempers threatened to boil over and both teams had taken turns at landing probing jabs. Inside the first quarter of an hour alone, Thomas had curled a shot narrowly beyond Ian Lawlor’s post, sent Jordan Marshall to the shops, and delivered a cross so dangerous it had the local constabulary on alert.
At the other end, Dundee – themselves no strangers to inconsistency this season – couldn’t be accused of not having a go. But, unlike the slick Spiders it was all very passive. Lee Ashcroft, McGhee, and Ryan Sweeney all went close with headers at least, but soon the team’s knack of shooting itself in the foot reared its ugly head.
Panic ensued when Queen’s Park – with some ease – slipped their way into the visitors’ box. Neither Sweeney nor Lawlor ever looked convincing when the ball broke, and Patrick Jarrett wasn’t waiting around, nipping in to find the net for the second time in three games.
It was the least Queen’s Park deserved and had Lawlor not reacted well to a Simon Murray header, it could so easily have been two at the break. As it was, the visiting fans left their team in no doubt about how they saw the first-half offering.
The loss of Robinson to injury midway through the half had hardly helped, but there was a sense Gary Bowyer needed to see a reaction. Lawlor being forced to throw a foot out to deny Alex Bannon – barely two minutes in – was probably not what the Englishman had in mind.
Then, out of the blue, disaster struck for Queen’s. Maybe it was his eagerness to impress against his former team, but Calum Ferrie had one of those moments. From practically his own half, Paul McMullan floated a free kick towards the centre of the goal, which Ferrie inexplicably misread, jumping far too early and low, missing the ball entirely.
His blushes could probably have been seen back in the Southside, but soon they were spared. Again, the defending from Dundee could best be described as charitable. Within seconds of the restart, Tommy Robson and Murray exchanged a gorgeous one-two on the left, and Robson was only too happy to oblige.
At least this finally appeared to shock Dundee into a reaction. Cillian Sheridan – on for Zak Rudden – played a delicious through ball into Derick Osei’s path, and only the post denied him. Minutes later, Queen’s Park’s woodwork again came to their rescue when McMullan’s effort crashed against Ferrie’s bar.
It looked like that was that until Osei popped up at the death. Cue the chaos, the flared tempers and the drama. The Championship – you just have to love it.