Can Queen of the South resurgence guarantee a play-off spot?
Rewind a month to Christmas Eve, and even the most ardent Queen of the South fan was fearing doom for the Doonhamers. They were winless in 12 Ladbrokes Championship games and edging towards the drop.
Now, they’re unbeaten in four and the highest scorers over the last three matchdays in the division – and there’s reason to believe it’s more than just a brief flurry of good form.
First off, they’ve pulled off the best bit of transfer business in the division during this window, in the form of winger Dominic Thomas, on loan from Motherwell.
Naturally gifted on the ball, the 20-year-old’s distribution is second-to-none at this level, while he’s also able to take defenders on at will. Oh, and his finishing’s not too bad either – with three goals in as many games for QoS so far.
But he’s not the only one impressing in the Doonhamers’ frontline right now, with Stephen Dobbie also enjoying an Indian summer with the club. The 34-year-old has already netted 18 times in all competitions this season, including six in his last eight outings.
In fact, their recent goal glut means Queens have now established themselves as joint-third-highest scorers in the Championship, with 30 goals. Only Hibernian have managed above 31.
Meanwhile, new boss Gary Naysmith seems to have found the ideal tactical solution for the side. They took a draw from both Tannadice and St Mirren Park with a conservative 4-5-1 which could adapt into a counter-attacking 4-3-3, while the Dumfries outfit have used the 4-4-2 to great success on their home patch.
The only question mark now is over the defence, but having recorded back-to-back clean sheets for the first time since August, in the games against Ayr and St Mirren, there are positive signs – especially with centre-back pairing Andy Dowie and Darren Brownlie continuing to build a partnership in the heart of defence.
The next two games are tough ones on paper for QoS, but they couldn’t come at a better time.
Naysmith’s side are now performing at a level where they can cause problems for visitors Hibernian, while Greenock Morton have now won just once in their last four away games – and there’ll be extra motivation for the hosts following the Ton’s 5-0 win in Dumfries earlier this season.
So, can Queen of the South down odds-on Hibernian in the borders? It’s 11/2 for a Doonhamers’ victory – a result which could see them close that three-point gap on the promotion play-offs.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the day of publishing