Preston ATHLETIC boss David Bingham today hailed Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Queen’s Park at Hampden as the greatest achievement of his football career.
The Lowland League outfit were certainly not overawed by their William Hill Scottish Cup second-round tie at the national stadium and were on course for a cup shock after leading the SPFL League Two side with just 15 minutes remaining.
However, Queen’s Park defender Ricki Lamie’s header ensured the sides will go head to head for a second time in East Lothian on Saturday.
An overwhelmed Bingham said: “It’s the biggest thing I have done in my career, even as a player because you only need to worry about yourself. We could have easily folded at half-time as Queen’s Park are playing a level above us and are playing against a standard of opposition we don’t play against.
“Words don’t fail me very often, but I am immensely proud of the guys. It will probably take a couple of days to digest what the boys have achieved, but the job is only half done.”
The opening phase produced very little goalmouth action with a midfield tussle ensuing, Michael Osborne, in particular, heavily involved in the thick of the action for Preston.
Queen’s Park’s Joao Vitoria did flash a header wide of the target after ten minutes, but Preston No. 1 John Gilbertson had his near post well covered.
The first effort on target arrived after 20 minutes, the ball falling kindly to the home side’s Blair Spittal at the edge of the box, but his well-struck effort was confidently held by Gilbertson before at the other end James Reilly flashed a shot wide of the left hand post just moments later.
A terrific sliding pass down the left from Osborne then put Ryan Strachan in the clear, his teasing delivery across the six-yard box just catching team-mate Gary McCormack in an offside position after finding space at the back post.
Queen’s Park did edge ahead on 33 minutes however, and it was the influential Spittal who rifled a shot from distance into the top right corner of the net after 33 minutes.
The goalscorer then squared his pass shortly after to the onrushing Michael Keenan, whose shot landed on the top of the net after his strike on goal had deflected off a Preston head.
The hosts then took a short free-kick a couple of minutes into the second half, a hesitant Preston contingent watching on as Conor McVey curled an effort just wide of the top right corner.
However, just after a minute from entering the field, up stepped substitute Jamie Brown to capitalise on goalkeeper Blair Lochhead’s indecisiveness after Mark Cherrie’s free kick caused chaos in the Queen’s Park box, and Brown showed terrific guile to cleverly lob the ball into the net via the crossbar for the equaliser.
The visitors grew in confidence and six minutes later they were ahead. Keenan’s slack pass found Preston substitute Paul Devlin, who charged forward at an exposed home defence before his neat ball through to McCormack, who had peeled off his marker, was lashed beyond a stranded Lochhead.
However, despite a heroic effort, Queen’s Park forced a replay when Lamie rose above the Preston defence to steer his header into the left corner with 13 minutes remaining despite the efforts of Gilbertson to keep the ball out.
Preston striker McCormack, scorer of his side’s second, remains confident of progressing into the third round.He said: “To come here and get a 2-2 and score, it’s the best thing I’ve ever managed. I think we can take them at Pennypit but it will be close. It’s been a great experience and why should we fear anybody?”
Queen’s Park: Lochhead, Fisher, Burns, Gold, Brough, Lamie, McVey, Keenan (Rooney 70), Gormley, Vitoria (Davison 62), Spittal. Subs: Gibson, Mitchell, Rooney, Davison, Sinclair.
Preston Athletic: Gilbertson, Cherrie (Stewart 62), O’Hara, Dodd, Ramsay, Morrison, Philp (Devlin 57), Osborne, Reilly, McCormack, Strachan (Brown 57). Subs: Stewart, Thomson, Brown, Moore, Devlin, Foster, Robertson.