With England’s second tier now containing numerous Dumfries connected players, two of them started their league season on Saturday by playing each other at Deepdale.
Bristol City’s Jamie McAllister took a first half clattering requiring treatment that saw the ref brandish the yellow card against the culprit. McAllister recovered to play the game out, delivering sound defence and dangerous crosses. Manager Gary Johnson clearly recognises the value of McAllister’s crossing ability – McAllister takes City’s corners from the right hand side, whipping in potent in-swinging left footers.
Early in the second half things were looking good for McAllister as his side surged into a two goal lead – a Paul Hartley penalty followed by a David Clarkson first-time side-foot finish. Then the dynamic of the game changed dramatically. Preston manager Alan Irvine made a double substitution with a quarter of the game remaining. This is where Dumfries’ Barry Nicholson entered the fray followed by his team switching to two at the back in an attempt to salvage the game. Sink after sink was thrown at The Robins defence with the dividend of a Jon Parkin 82nd minute goal bringing the crowd to a frenzy. The atmosphere heightened further when the announcement came of four minutes added time. With the game’s last attack, Preston were awarded a penalty. Callum Davidson matched Hartley’s earlier proficiency from the spot for the spoils to be evenly shared - final score, 2-2.
After summing the game up as, “We threw it away,” This is what a very amiable Jamie McAllister had to say post match when asked a few questions, starting off with the story of his road to Palmerston.
“I was playing with Motherwell boys club at the time, and I’d just signed S-form, I was there for a few years. When Alex McLeish came in he changed a lot of things and scrapped a lot of the S-forms. So I then joined Bellshill Boys Club, and within six months Queen of the South phoned me, to say they were starting up doing professional contracts with players and going full time. They offered me a two year deal. So we went down to Queens, a few boys. Superb there, Norman Blount, the chairman at the time was different class with the lads. We had a good bunch of boys and we done well in the three seasons I was there. Great lads and a nice place to stay and I really enjoyed my time there.”
“It was at home against Montrose, last game of the season or second last game of the season. I managed to set up Stevie Mallan for the goal and I won man of the match that day. It was around my birthday as well, 26th April [it was indeed, the 1-1 draw was on 27 April 1996], second last game of the season.”
Favourite memory from QoS?
“There’s a few. I just loved playing at Palmerston Park, we had a few cup games there, we got to the Challenge Cup Final. We got beat off Falkirk in the final 1-0. I came on as a sub, it was just great, it was nice to be involved in a final. That was my first final at a professional level, it was good. I really loved my time down there. There was eight or nine of us that were full time and we all stayed in the one flat. I was only 18 at the time. It was ‘quiet’”, said McAllister humorously and launching into a laugh before continuing, “No it was fun, great camaraderie and stuff. It was above Norman’s chemist next to Baker Street. We all used to stay in there, there was like five or six bedrooms, eight or nine of us there in the flat so, a great three years. Superb it was.”
McAllister continued, “We had a great blend of old and young. There was myself, David Lilley, Craig Allan, Marc Cleeland, Steve Pettit, Craig Irving and then you had players like Des McKeown, Geordie Rowe, Jimmy Thomson, Stevie Mallan, so there was a great mixture of young and old. The boys all got on really well, it was nice to be in that dressing room, it was a good dressing room.”
“In the current QoS set up there are three players that you are very familiar with. One you mentioned a moment ago, Jim Thomson.”
“Great guy, great player. I think he could have played at a higher level. I think he had a few chances to go. When I was at Queens he had a chance to go to Hibs; because he had such a good job he didn’t want to go full time. He wanted to play part time and stay at Queens and work.”
“I didn’t know that.”
“I’m sure he did and I’m sure he went there for a few days as well. Great guy, lovely guy, great laugh, bit of a joker but serious on the park and a great leader and great to play alongside.”
“And the new captain, somebody else you mentioned a minute ago, David Lilley.”
“Big David Lilley got the captaincy? Brilliant,” beamed McAllister. “Me and David are really close, we played at a lot of teams together. He was at Bellshill when I was there, we were at Queen of the South together, we were at Aberdeen together, so yep, I’ve known David a long time. He phoned me actually when he signed at Queens just to say he was going back. He was looking forward to it actually. A lovely guy and a good player as well.”
"A third player, somebody from your time at Aberdeen, new goalkeeper David Hutton.”
“Yeah, David Hutton. Mad as a brush,” said McAllister cheerily. “He was a young keeper at Aberdeen when I was there. Again a very good player, a very good keeper. That’s good, I think he’ll do well there. Is he number one there?”
“It’s him and Ludovic Roy and so far this season Hutton’s started.”
“Yeah, I know young David, I think he was there about a year and half when I was there.”
“You played for Scotland against Trinidad and Tobago. What’s your recollections of that game?”
“That was amazing, that was a great day. We played them at Easter Road, I was at Livingston at the time. When I got called up I didn’t think I’d get my chance, I started the game, played the full 90 minutes, we won the game 4-1. All my friends and family were there, my wife, it was an amazing day.”
McAllister was then asked in reference to the ice pack clearly strapped to the side of his leg, “Norway v Scotland this coming Wednesday - I hope that isn’t going to jeopardise your place in the squad?”
“No, it’s just a kick so it’s just a precaution.”
"Thoughts on the game?"
“Yes, massive game, I don’t know if it’s must win but we must get a point at least from it. So, big game, I’m really looking forward to it and hoping to get involved and come away with a positive result.”
All the best for Wednesday Jamie.