A Chance To Make History
Updated Saturday, 8th March 2008
Queen of the South and Dundee are among four First Division teams in the last eight of the Scottish Cup. Will one go all the way to the final?
|A nine-game unbeaten run has moved Queen of the South up to fourth in the First Division and into the Scottish Cup quarter-finals. Promotion may be beyond them but Hampden is in their sights as they face Dundee in the last eight at Palmerston today. Defender Jim Thomson returns from suspension and Stevie Tosh is eligible despite his sending-off against Hamilton as he serves his ban in the league. However, it is doubtful if Robert Harris will be able to make it due to his hamstring injury. Striker Stephen Dobbie, meanwhile, believes the Dumfries side have shown their true colours in recent weeks - and they are determined to prove themselves. Dobbie said: "We have beaten them (Dundee) the last twice we played so the boys are quite confident. At the start of the season we had a lot of injuries and suspensions. Once we got the full squad back the gaffer has options and he brought a few players in after New Year. So everyone is fighting for their place now and it has helped the squad. I think the poor start we had in the league this year didn't really give us a chance to get near the top of the league or get nearer Hamilton. Maybe this run has shown how good we are, hopefully we can show it in the cup." |
Queens have only been to the semi-finals once before - when they lost to Rangers after a replay in 1950. Dobbie recognises the chance for the current squad to make a name for themselves. He said: "It's a great opportunity - if we can get through there is a chance of getting St Mirren or St Johnstone. That would be fantastic to give us an opportunity to get to the final, but we will take it one step at a time. I got to the final of the CIS Cup with Hibs and it was a great feeling playing at Hampden. Hopefully we can get through because a lot of the boys haven't played there." Dobbie has recently extended his stay at the club until the end of next season after scoring 16 goals already this season. And he recognises a run to the latter stages could help a potential promotion push next year. He went on: "I am really enjoying it, I just signed a one-year extension. We usually train at Glasgow Green, which is only 10 minutes down the road so that helps me. Because we are training in Glasgow every day, that will be a plus point for bringing players in during the summer, but it's all about the here and now and if we can get to the semi-final it will be a great achievement for Queen of the South."
Over in the Dundee camp, defender Milan Palenik has urged his team-mates to be selfish as they prepare to launch a double assault on the Scottish Cup and league trophies. The Czech centre-half will line up alongside stand-in Eddie Malone when Alex Rae's side travel south and has plans to end the season with two winners' medals for his collection. Dundee are in the middle of a title battle with Hamilton for promotion to the SPL and Palenik, who signed last summer, wants to cap his first season in Scottish football with an appearance at Hampden. Asked whether the cup or the league takes more importance in his mind, and insisted Dundee should be looking for success on both fronts. He said: "I won't choose between winning in the league or in the cup because I want to win both - sometimes you have to be greedy. Every competition you are in you have to believe in your ability to win it and I feel Dundee can end the season as champions of the league and the Scottish Cup. We are making good progress in the league already and we have a chance to get into the semi-final if we beat Queen of the South but we know it is going to be a difficult game. They are a very good team, especially at their own home ground, and we lost there earlier in the season so we know what to expect. They have been beating almost everyone lately but maybe that puts some more pressure on them because their good form will have to end sometime. We are definitely good enough to go there and win the match so we are full of confidence."
Dundee have major selection problems for today's game, with up to seven players absent through injury, suspension and ineligibility. Influential pair Scott Robertson and Derek Lyle have both been ruled out with serious injuries, while Kevin McDonald and Gary McKenzie are suspended. January signings Mickael Antoine-Curier and Colin McMenamin are cup-tied after playing for Hibs and Livingston respectivly in previous rounds and they may be joined in the stand by winger Gavin Swankie, who is doubtful with a thigh problem.
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