A festive hangover was partly at fault for St Cuthbert Wanderers having to come from behind to beat Wigtown on Saturday.
The Kirkcudbright side were trailing at half-time to a Rab Jamieson header but turned things round in the second half to take a 2-1 win thanks to a terrific Ian Miller free-kick and a goal from Alex Walker following a brilliant run.
Manager Jim McCrossan was pleased with the turnaround but not with the display in the opening 45 minutes.
He said: “It was a very lacklustre first half performance. The hangover from the festive period was apparent in the first half and it was well below our standards. It showed a lot of character from the boys as they can be criticised for their first half performance but they came back in the second to get the three points and that’s what’s required.
“We were a bit lethargic and slow with the tempo to our game, but having said that we probably had as many chances in the first half as Wigtown did. We had three really good chances and hit the woodwork twice – Ian Miller hit it from 35 yards, Justin Nicholl hit the post and Roddy Cooksley had a header cleared of the line. We could have had a goal or two in the first half and we’re disappointed with the goal we lost as the boy had all the time to put in a cross and Rab Jamieson is hard to beat in the air.
“Shaun Hutchison had an excellent reflex save just before half-time and we were well in the game at 1-0. We sacrificed Justin Nicholl to put another striker up top and went 4-4-2 to take the game to them.
“We were the better team in the second half and I think we deserved the win. Ian Miller scored a bullet free-kick into the top corner from 30 yards and then Alex Walker, who we’d pressed on up front and was causing them lots of problems, made an opening for himself, beat a few players in the box and tucked it away into the corner.
“Ian Miller chipped one just by the post, which would have killed the game and then they had a couple of close shots. It was a good three points as if we win our games in hand we’re on the same points as them so it was a six pointer for us.”
Saints had to make do without Jack Johnston, Colin Carnochan, Paul McClymont and Ben Irving, while McCrossan himself was under the weather and let coach Ade Stovell lead things.
Carnochan was due to see Queen of the South’s physio this week to assess his problem but striker Craig Rudd will need an operation on his knee – although it is set to be delayed until the end of the season.
“We’re looking to get his operation in April or May so we can get a bit more time out of him,” said McCrossan. “Long term he’ll miss maybe the first or second week of pre-season training and hopefully after that we’ll have him back to get a good pre-season without any restriction, which is a massive bonus.
“He’s a big player for us and has done extremely well. To play on needing a cartilage operation shows a lot of character, he’s a boy that never misses training and he’s got a good attitude.
“I think it’ll be good for himself as it means he can bash into pre-season training having had the operation and he’ll be looking to come back like his old self. It’s bad short-term news but really good long term news for us.”
Saints are due to go to Crichton this weekend in the Potts Cup, but as with all games at the moment the weather is causing concern.
McCrossan added: “I don’t know if it’ll be on because there was a horrendous amount of rain on Monday. We’ve still to play them in the league so an option might be to switch it to a league game at Kirkcudbright, but we’re in the hands of the weather.
“We got someone down on Saturday to roll the pitch and it looked OK but it cut up quite badly so we’ll see what the weather does this week.”