Gary Jardine felt his players’ failure to adapt to a change in surface played a part in their 3-0 Betfred Cup defeat by Queen’s Park.
Dominic Docherty’s strike separated the sides at the break before a Chris McKee own goal and something of a fluke from Anton Brady made for a trying afternoon for the League Two team at a sodden national stadium.
“It was a tough shift all round,” admitted Jardine. “I think we played an astroturf game on a grass pitch. We gave the ball away far too cheaply. There are players I’ve brought to the club to make things happen and keep it and we’ve been caught out a bit, because we’ve played all our friendlies on astro and we train on it.
“I’d be naive to focus solely on that, though. We put too much on our passes and Queen’s Park were far better in terms of organisation and knowing what to do. We’ve brought nine or ten new players in and that was my worry – that it was going to take time to get it going. So, in some respects, this competition is great for us as it gives us four competitive games to prepare for the first league game.”
A non-eventful opening 18 minutes preceded the first effort on goal. A McKee knockdown found Ashley Grimes, who was denied a third goal in two games for his new club when his volley was kicked off the line. Typically, the hosts then went up the park and opened the scoring. Good interplay down on the left between Thomas Orr and Sean Burns put the latter in a position to square across goal, taking goalkeeper Calum Antell out of the equation and leaving Docherty with the simplest of finishes.
Orr was inches away from doubling the Spiders’ advantage six minutes before the break. He caught Zdravko Karadachki’s clearing header full on the volley, and was desperately unlucky to see it hit the cross bar and go over.
Gus MacPherson’s side finally got a second five minutes before the hour. Orr wriggled free in the box on the left and thumped the ball across the six-yard box, which the unfortunate McKee sliced in to his own net.
City then endured a nightmare minute. Firstly, Karadachki was stretchered off with what appeared to be a serious knee injury. No sooner than Calum Hall had replaced him, Brady sent what looked suspiciously like an attempted cross sailing in at the back post to put the game beyond Jardine’s team.
“He’s stiff just now,” said the City boss of the Bulgarian’s injury after the game. “It looks bad, but it could have been worse. It doesn’t look like ligament damage just now but we’ll see how it is in the morning and get him in to see the doc.”
Sub Ewan MacPherson deserved to make it 4-0 with a brilliant acrobatic effort that came back off the base of the post, much to Antell’s relief. Jardine hopes he can look back on his Hampden experience without the result taking too much of a shine off it. “It’s a brilliant venue and, if you’re Scottish growing up, it’s somewhere that’s steeped in tradition and you’d love play week in, week out,” he said. “I’ve been here as a supporter, a Scotland supporter and it’s always great to come back. It was a difficult one and that may have contributed in that the players are no different. They’d have wanted to enjoy coming here and that maybe took a bit of focus off the job in hand.”
Queen’s Park: Muir, Millen, Burns, Wharton, Green, Bailey, Green (Whelan 84), Docherty, Orr (MacPherson 70), Brady, Galt (Mortimer 84).
Edinburgh City: Antell, McKee, Harrison, Walker (Dunn 65), Laird, Thomson (Olanrewaju 70), Grimes, Karadachki (Hall 60), Verlaque, Mackie, Allan.
Referee: Kevin Graham