Club History

Formation and early success


In the beginning in the year 1919 - club name and formation


Early in 1919 a handful of Dumfries football enthusiasts met in their homes. They discussed not only the restoration of competitive football fixtures locally following the end of World War 1. They also discussed the formation through amalgamation of a local football club to compete at more than a local level. A public meeting was arranged in Dumfries Town Hall on 21 March 1919 on the proposed merger. Representatives were approached of three clubs from Dumfries and Maxwelltown:

• Dumfries F.C.

• 5th Kings Own Scottish Borderers football team

• Arrol-Johnston Car Company

The first formal meeting of the newly formed Queen of the South F.C. took place on 26 March 1919 at 38 Whitesands in Dumfries at the premises of the New Bazaar public house. Dumfries had been nicknamed `Queen of the South` by David Dunbar, a local poet, who in 1857 stood for Parliament in the General Election. In one of his addresses, he called Dumfries, "Queen of the South", and this became synonymous with the town. Palmerston Park has been a football venue since the 1870s on the site of the former Palmers Toun Farm. This was chosen as the club`s home (there is no relationship between the football ground and former politician, Viscount Palmerston, as has been asked).

People from Dumfries are nicknamed `Doonhamers`. This is because when in towns in Scotland further North (i.e. most places due to the position of Dumfries near the Scottish South coast), they would refer to Dumfries as `Doon hame`; `Doon hame` is Scots dialect for `Down home`. Hence the official club nickname of `The Doonhamers`. The club are also informally known as QoS, The Queen`s, or Queen`s.  The club badge contains the same motto as that on the crest for the town of Dumfries, `A Lore Burne`, meaning, `To the Lore Burne`, (the historical rallying point in Dumfries against outside attack).



After four trial matches Queen of the South`s first ever game took place on 16th August 1919. Invites were sent to local councillors and magistrates and the presence of Dumfries Town Band added to the sense of occasion. The opposition was Sanquhar side Nithsdale Wanderers and the challenge game ended 2 - 2. Among those who played in this first game was then 16 year old Ian Dickson who would leave in 1921 to top score at Aston Villa.


(Team photo from the first ever Queen of the South game, 16th Aug 1919)


Queen of the South are separate from a much earlier Dumfries club named Queen of the South Wanderers that existed from 1873 to 1894 who also played at Palmerston. The most prominent player for Wanderers was centre half David Calderhead who was there from 1881 - 89. In 1889 he gained a full Scotland cap in a 7-0 win against Ireland. This attracted Notts County where he was victorious in the second FA Cup final he played in.


Building up

The Queen`s first ever competitive fixture was on September 6th, 1919, in the Scottish Qualifying Cup against Thornhill. Dumfries born Norrie Fairgray returned and played in this game after his career away included playing under the management of David Calderhead at each of Lincoln City and then Chelsea. After a 1-1 draw QoS went through after a replay (again played at Palmerston). The Queen`s first ever away game and first ever defeat both came two rounds later in the same competition - a replay away to Galston.

Very early in their careers the form of Dave Halliday (1920) and Hughie Gallacher (1921) at Queen of the South proved to be the beginnings of hugely successful careers elsewhere. Both are established all time greats not only of Scottish and UK football, but also at world level. For example both are in the group of only 27 men as at August 2019 to have scored over 200 goals in England`s top division. Both are in the top 60 of the IFFHS list (updated in 2008 from their previous list in 1996), of the highest top division goal scorers in world history.

Jimmy McKinnell, Tom Wylie and Willie McCall were all sold to Blackburn Rovers within a short space of time (McKinnell and Wylie enjoyed fine top flight careers with Rovers and played in the 1925 FA Cup semi final). This combined with the sale to Aston Villa of Ian Dickson (Dickson top scored for Villa in 1921/22 with 28 goals in helping Villa finish 5th in the English top flight), helped to fund the purchase of Palmerston Park in 1921 for £1,500.

At regional level QoS performed well winning many cups in the Southern Counties set up. Playing in the Western League QoS were runners up in 1921-22. The Doonhamers also reached the Scottish Cup quarter finals for the first time despite their then non league status. Instrumental for QoS was the young Willie Ferguson whose form generated a move to spend a decade with Chelsea. QoS then created something of a sensation with the signing coup of Celtic defensive great and ex internationalist, Joe Dodds. Future USA internationalist, David Robertson, was on the books in Autumn 1922. With further experience provided on the pitch by Bob McDougall, QoS won the Western League in 1922-23 with a 20 game unbeaten league campaign.


Entering the Scottish Football League

Queen of the South had applied to join the Scottish League for seasons 1921-22 and 1922-23 unsuccessfully. The ambition bore fruit in 1923-24 when Queen of the South were invited to join the Scottish Football league at its lowest level, the newly created Third division. QoS finished 3rd. The Queen`s biggest achievement that season was in the Scottish Qualifying Cup.


(The victorious QoS squad with the Scottish Qualifying Cup.

Back - Geddes [trainer], McMaster, McAlpine, Woods, McLauglan, McDermid, McDougall, McKnight, Harper [trainer].

Front - Gray, Gillespie, Muir, Dodds, Dougan, Lister.)


Then considerably more prestigious than now, QoS brought the cup to the South West for the first time in its 25 year history. In the final replay a surging run through the opposition half and shot from Bob McDermid (on loan at QoS from Rangers before going on to captain Aberdeen) opened the scoring. Next McDermid`s `dummy` let Bert Lister in to hit the second. McDermid`s left foot finish sealed the 3-0 win and QoS were crowned. The train bringing the players and the trophy back to Dumfries were met by crowds of jubilant well wishers on the platforms and surrounding streets and approaches. The team were then entertained at the Town Hall Buildings on Buccleuch Street.

Goalkeeper Jimmy Coupland signed in 1924 and would make his debut aged 16. The Queen`s first tangible national league success came in their second season of 1924/25 by finishing second to gain promotion to the Scottish Second Division.

1926-27 saw QoS drawn for the first time competitively against Old Firm opposition. QoS took eventual winners Celtic to a replay before being eliminated from the Scottish Cup. Among those playing for QoS was strong and fearless inside left Billy Halliday, brother of Dave Halliday. The 21 year old`s nine goals in 15 games that season seen Newcastle United offer him a contract. With the offer of higher wages and a signing on fee plus his brother`s massive success as a goal machine at nearby Sunderland, unsurprisingly he signed. At Newcastle he joined Hughie Gallacher who had captained the Geordie side to be 1926/27 English League Champions.

(This image is of what is touted as the earliest known programme involving Queen of the South FC. The home side are defunct Edinburgh club, St Bernards) 

1930s - Joining the top flight

1931-32 was notable for a number of reasons. Centre Forward Jimmy Rutherford hit a then record number 41 goals in one season for QoS that was to be unmatched for 81 years. The Scottish Cup campaign seen QoS inflict their record senior victory of 11-1. The opposition was south west rivals Stranraer whose goal was the last of the twelve scored. Rutherford scored 5 of the QoS 11 goals. In the next round QoS took top division Dundee United to two replays before elimination. Prolific Rutherford blitzed 66 goals in his 65 QoS competitive 1st team games.

In 1932 Coupland became injured and was replaced by the small but agile and safe handling John Smith. Willie Savage joined the same year (he make would make 369 appearances for QoS). Willie Culbert also joined in 1932 and with Savage formed the club`s full back partnership for years to come. Left winger Tommy McCall broke the national record of goals scored in a season from his position with 32. QoS ended their 1932-33 league campaign with a 2-1 victory over divisional champions Hibernian.

After previous seasons solidly consolidating their position in the 2nd division, Queen of the South were promoted to the Scottish First Division as runners up. 10 years after entering the league and with 2 promotions behind them the club were set for top division football.


Top division football

The mid 30s

From 1933, excluding war time interruption, Queen of the South spent only one season out of Scotland`s top division until 1959. QoS justified their meteoric rise with some fine performances. In this period the QoS ability to live with the elite is demonstrated by their results against Celtic. On eighteen visits to Palmerston Park Celtic managed just five victories. With three games drawn, QoS claimed full points on ten occasions.

After 10 years at David Calderhead`s Chelsea (3 with Hughie Gallacher who was now recognised among the greatest talents in football), Willie Ferguson rejoined Queen of the South at the start of 1933/34 season (after 4 years as a QoS playerFerguson became manager). In their first-ever game in the top division a QoS team featuring Smith in goals and Savage, Culbert and Ferguson playing outfield, QoS condemned Celtic to a 3 - 2 defeat. The Sunday Mail headline read," Queen`s brew hot stew, Celtic merely the gravy". The Celtic match program the week after said, "We would be failing in our duty as Celts and as sportsmen if we omitted to congratulate Queen of the South on their victory over us. And we hope they will continue to serve up good, honest football which brought them their first victory in the league."


(The QoS team that played in the club`s first ever game of top division football, the 3-2 win against Celtic, 12th August 1933.

Back - Russell, Irvine, Jenkins, Smith, Savage, Culbert.

Front - Wales, Bell, McGowan, McDonald, Ferguson)


That season of 1933/34 saw the club`s highest ever league finish with fourth place in Scotland`s top flight. Irish international Laurie Cumming scored 24 goals that season. Adam `Skull` Allan and winger and local lad Willie Anderson would also figure prominently. Among the scalps QoS took that season were double victories over Celtic, Hibs and Hearts. QoS reached the Scottish Cup quarter finals before losing to two deflected goals away to St. Johnstone.


(This is the first ever QoS produced match programme. The fixture from 16th September 1933 is a reserve league fixture against Beith)


The 1936 overseas tour and the Algiers invitational tournament

In 1935 George McLachlan became Queen of the South manager (as well as playing in Scotland and in the 1927 F.A. Cup win with Cardiff City his experience included being club captain at Manchester United and a spell with French side Le Havre). In May 1936 McLachlan took QoS on an 11 game tour to France, Luxembourg and Algeria. In France they played against such teams as Montpellier (losing 4-2) and Stade Reims (winning 5-4 against the future twice European Cup finalists).


(With Algeria then under colonian rule from France, French is no surprise as the language on the programme)


The tour included competing in a four team invitational tournament in Algiers. The match days were Thursday May 21 and Sunday May 24.

Home side Racing Universitaire d`Alger (R.U.A. for whom Nobel Prize winning author/philosopher Albert Camus had played in goals for their junior team) had already won both the North African Champions Cup and the North African Cup in the 30s (R.U.A. would win each twice by the decade`s end). With the match date ironically being Ascension, it was Queen of the South who rose up at the judgement with the men of this generation. Goals by Willie Thomson and Joe Tulip (the Northumbrian was one of the first Englishmen to play in the Scottish League) saw QoS book a place in the invitational tournament final with a 2 - 1 win condemning R.U.A. to defeat.

In the final QoS faced a Racing de Santander side who had just finished 4th in Spain`s La Liga notching home and away double victories against both Real Madrid and F.C. Barcelona. Norrie Haywood`s goal and a 1 - 0 score line saw victory for La Belle Equipe Ecossaise. The trophy can still be seen in the QoS club museum today.


The late 30s

On the back of league wins against Dundee and Hibs, on 30 January 1937 captained by Savage, with Willie Fotheringham in goal and with Culbert, Allan, Cumming, Tulip and Jackie Law also playing, Queen of the South condemned Rangers to a 1 - 0 first round Scottish Cup exit. The Evening Times reported, "It was more than a merited win for Queen of the South. It was a triumph". QoS made it to the quarters that season.

Winger Jackie Oakes signed in 1937 from Wolverhampton Wanderers (Oakes would eventually leave for Blackburn Rovers in 1947). 1937/38 at Ibrox Park was the first season when QoS condemned Rangers to a league defeat. In 1938 original board member Jimmy McKinnell Senior became secretary/manager until retiring in 1946. Tommy Lang signed after his successful career down South including spells with Newcastle United (1932 F.A. Cup winner), Huddersfield Town and Manchester United. QoS hit the Scottish Football League top spot for the first time in 1938/39 and finished the season in sixth place. The Doonhamers again reached the Scottish Cup quarter finals, the third time of the decade.

In 1939/40 after 5 games with QoS in ninth place, the league was abandoned, after war was declared in Europe. Scottish football was then restructured into a regionalised two league set up with an East and a West league. QoS played in the West League. The new League started on October 21st, 1939.

(Among those who played in this war time game from 1942 at Palmerston were Matt Busby (then of Liverpool), Joe Fagan (Liverpool) Bill Shankly (Preston North End), Frank Swift (Man City) Tommy Walker (Hearts) and Scottish internationalist left back from Dumfries, Bobby Ancell (Newcastle United)).



At the end of 1939/40 Queen of the South finished runners up to Rangers in the West league. QoS never played another league game of any description until the war in Europe was over. The national league resumed in 1946/47 with QoS retaining their place in the top division.

Freddie Jenkins joined in 1947 and in 1949 was transferred to Chelsea for a new club record fee of £10,000.

1947/48 was the first season QoS registered league victories against both of the Old Firm in the same season. In the same season on 20th September 1947, QoS played in what remains unbeaten as the record high scoring draw in a league game in senior Scottish football, 6 - 6 against Falkirk at Palmerston. The score line was matched by Motherwell v Hibs on 5th May 2010. Dougie McBain and Jimmy McColl both joined QoS in the Summer of 1948 having just played for Matt Busby`s Great Britain side in the semi final of the London Olympics (McBain scored against Netherlands at Highbury in the first round). McBain stayed for 7 seasons.

Wales, Leeds United and Juventus legend John Charles made his first team debut for Leeds in a friendly versus QoS on 19 April in 1949, the year of the 30th anniversary of both clubs founded in 1919. The score at Elland Road was 0-0 before a 20,257 crowd.

The same year on 15th October saw the collective competitive debut of Hibs` `famous five` forward line of Gordon Smith, Bobby Johnstone, Lawrie Reilly, Eddie Turnbull and Willie Ormond. QoS lost the game 2 - 0 at Easter Road.


1949/50 and other Scottish Cup runs

Queen of the South have made it to the Scottish Cup quarter finals on numerous occasions. Only once in the 20th century did they progress beyond that stage. That was in 1950 when in front of 32 000 fans they knocked out Aberdeen 2 - 1 away in a replay (the home game was 3 - 3). In the semi final after drawing 1 - 1, QoS were knocked out 3 - 0 by Rangers in a replay. Both semi finals were played at Hampden Park in Rangers` home city of Glasgow.

In 14 Scottish cups played between 1949/50 and 1962/63 QoS reached the quarter finals five times. The most memorable of the 4 of these that resulted in defeat was arguably in 1962/63. Dundee United required two replays to see QoS off after the first two games ended 1 - 1. There was also a high scoring quarter final against Rangers losing 4-3 in 1957/58. The four Scottish Cup quarter final appearances of the 1950s is the highest of any decade in QoS history.


1950s - The Beautiful South

The Scottish cup run to the 1950 semi final was balanced by the disappointment of Queen of the South`s first ever league relegation. 1950/51 seen QoS rule the Scottish B Division when promoted straight back to the top flight as champions clinching the title by winning away at Forfar. QoS also reached the semi-final of the Scottish League Cup. The championship trophy was presented to then captain and rugged centre half Willie Aird at the start of the next season. In that same 1951/52 season the Doonhamers would hand Celtic a 4 - 0 thrashing.

The early and mid 1950s saw the club`s most successful spell to date achieving regular mid table finishes in the Scottish A Division (as the top flight was then called). QoS were managed throughout this period by Jimmy McKinnell Junior. On 23 February 1952 Palmerston Park saw its record attendance of 26,552 for the Scottish Cup visit of Hearts.

This was the era at the club of goalkeeper Roy Henderson, full back Dougie Sharpe, and until July 1952 Dumfries boy and centre-forward Billy Houliston. Centre forward Jackie Brown debuted in January 1947 (in season 1953/54 he scored 4 hat tricks). Jim Patterson signed in 1949 (251 strikes for the club make Patterson the all time goals King of Queen`s).

Inside forward and play maker Walter Rothera joined the club in 1951 as did full back Jimmy Binning and classy left half Jimmy Greenock. Jackie Oakes returned, arriving this time from Manchester City. Centre half Alex Smith and goal scoring outside right Bobby Black (another local boy) signed up in 1952. Black is the club`s senior 1st team 3rd highest all time scorer with 120 goals. Charlie Johnstone played until 1953 before retiring aged 41.


(Back - Dougie McBain, Alex Smith, Dougie Sharpe, Roy Henderson, Jimmy Binning, Jimmy Greenock

Front - Bobby Black, Jimmy McGill, Jim Patterson, Wattie Rothera, Jackie Oakes)


At different levels whilst at QoS, Billy Houliston, Sharpe, Patterson, Binning and Black represented Scotland internationally. Henderson was selected 6 times as Scotland reserve goalkeeper. QoS topped Scotland`s highest division until New Year in season 1953/54. Same season league defeats were given again to both of the Old Firm in 1953/54 and 1955/56 by killer Queen`s. The solidity of the QoS results through this period peaked in 1955/56 when after again leading the top division early in the season they finished in sixth place - a finish surpassed only once in the club`s history. For QoS fans this was the time of the beautiful South.

(Match programme is to mark the arrival of floodlit football at Palmerston. The opposition were English top division club, Preston N.E.)


QoS were subsequently relegated from the top division in 1959.


Early and mid 60s

In February 1960 ex-Scotland and long-time Blackpool FA Cup winning goalkeeper George Farm signed for Queen of the South. Another ex-international, England`s Ivor Broadis had already joined at the start of that season.


(QoS 1960/61. Back row; G Irving, H Mattison, G Farm, J Kerr, P Scott, J Byrne

Front row; R Black, M Elliott, J Patterson, I Broadis, E Garrett)


QoS made it to the League Cup semi final in 1960/61 for the second and to date last time with Maurice Elliott among those to figure prominently. Farm was made player manager in 1961. Fast and tricky right winger, Ernie Hannigan (he later said, "Going to Queen of the South turned out to be a great move"), and big, future Scotland centre forward, Neil Martin, joined in `61 and formed a great partnership (they would later play together in England`s top division with Coventry City).

With Jim Patterson still at QoS the club were promoted back to the top division in 1962 where they played again for 2 seasons (beating Celtic at Parkhead in the process). QoS would keenly contest promotion to the top flight in the next 2 seasons but missed out by 1 place by finishing 3rd on both occasions.



Two players signed for QoS in the early 1960s who by sticking with QoS through thick and thin would give greater service than any other player. With a combined service of 4 decades and over 1400 games between them those players are Allan Ball and Iain McChesney. Another 60s stalwart, Jim Kerr, made 403 appearances. Lex Law joined in the mid 60s and was another to give over a decade of service.


The Willie Harkness era - 1967 to 1994

Willie Harkness became Queen of the South chairman in 1967. Willie`s involvement with QoS started as a ball boy and continued up to him making his debut for the club as a player in 1938. Willie joined the board in 1959 (his brother Sammy also joined), before eight later years becoming Chairman.

Under the management of Willie McLean a second place finish in 1974/75 with the likes of John Dempster and Crawford Boyd well established at QoS, failed to carry the significance of previous seasons due to league restructure meaning the top 6 clubs would play in the 2nd of 3 divisions the next season (instead of providing promotion to the top tier as had been the case before).


(QoS 1976/77)


In 1978 Chairman Willie Harkness was appointed as Chairman of the Scottish Football Association. In this post he travelled to the 1978 World Cup in Argentina and the 1982 World Cup in Spain. 1978 was the last year of Tommy O`Hara who joined Washington Diplomats in America. To join him later on the Diplomats playing staff were Johan Cruyff and Wim Jansen.


(The promotion side of 1981. Back - Malone, Scott, Phillips, Alexander

Middle - McCann, Coughlin, Robertson, Boyd, Cloy

Front - Ball, Dickson, McChesney, Gordon)


QoS were promoted as runners up of the third of three divisions in 1980/81 (winger Jimmy Robertson was divisional player of the year) and in 1985/86. Another great servant of the club, Nobby Clark, played in the 81 campaign and managed the 86 campaign. Along with Robertson and Clark the other most prominent long servants of the 80s were keeper Alan Davidson and utility man George Cloy. However both visits to the middle division were short (one season and three seasons respectively).


(The promotion side of 1986. Back - Parker, Cochrane, J. Robertson, McBride, Dick, Maskrey, Mills, Forsyth

Middle - Cloy, Hetherington, G. Robertson, Bryce

Front - Gervaise, Davidson, Reid, Clark, McChesney)


Despite some highs there were many lows in this period. In 1970/71 and 1972/73 11th place finishes in the lower division meant QoS finished 9th bottom of 37 teams in the Scottish league ladder. In finishing second bottom in the lowest division in 1979/80 only Alloa Athletic that season prevented QoS finishing bottom of the entire Scottish football league ladder. From 1982/83 to 1984/85 QoS finished in 8th bottom, 9th bottom and 7th bottom. More abject league finishes followed; the sequence from 1989/90 to 1992/93 was 5th bottom, 3rd bottom, 4th bottom and 5th bottom of the Scottish football league pile. These are the ten Queen of the South worst season finishes since the club joined the Scottish Football League.

QoS had two runs to the Scottish Cup quarter-finals during this period. These were in 1975/76 (including an Allan Ball penalty save with torn ankle ligaments in the away 2 - 2 fourth round draw against top division Ayr United before Peter Dickson lobbed the keeper for the winner in the 5 - 4 replay victory), and 1976/77.

As with the league, while there were some cup highs, the club also reached its knockout football low points. In the 1990/91 Scottish Cup QoS were knocked out at home to then non league Ross County in a 2nd round replay conceding 6 goals to 2. Two seasons later (again in the second round), QoS went out to non league opposition again this time losing 2 -1 away to Huntly. In 1993/94 QoS conceded 8 goals to Forfar in the 1st round exit (scoring 3 in reply).

The lowest recorded attendance for a competitive QoS game at Palmerston is 300 on 4 May 1974. Alloa Athletic were the league opponents in an end of season QoS 1-0 victory.

In 1984 QoS smashed their previous highest transfer fee received with £100,000 for Ted McMinn`s move to Rangers.


(Programme from the fund raising game held after the Pan Am flight 103 disaster at Lockerbie).

On 18 December 1993 Tommy Bryce of QoS scored a "hat-trick" against Arbroath in a period of 1 minute, 46 seconds. This was claimed at the time as the fastest hat-trick globally in senior football (the Tommy Ross 90 second hat-trick for Ross County in 1964 was when County played below senior level. Bryce`s feat was superseded by Magnus Arvidsson`s 1 minute 29 seconds trio of goals for IFK Hässleholm on 22 October 1995). Bryce still holds the Scottish senior record as at 10 February 2016.

The chairmanship of Willie Harkness ended on 14th April 1994. He also spent time as SFA President when Scotland played in both of the 1978 and 1982 FIFA World Cup Finals.


The Blount, Bradford and Rae times


With the club in stagnation, new chairman and local businessman Norman Blount started the ball rolling on dragging Queen of the South into the 21st century by the bootstraps.

Two time divisional player of the year Andy Thomson was transferred to Southend United for a club record fee of £250,000 in 1994. As Thomson said on his return over a decade later, "Things have changed quite a bit while I`ve been away - a new stand, a completely new set-up and a more modern type of training system.”


(Norman Blount standing on the right receives the big cheque that helped to fund the new stand)


That stand, the family stand at Palmerston, was paid for with the help of some sport funding and the fee received from Southend for Thomson. Rangers provided the opposition in April 1995 in a game (drawn 2 - 2) to commemorate the stand opening and also the club`s 75th anniversary. Notably among those happy to guest for the Queen`s new regime were Davie Irons and Ian McCall (future manager for a year and a half and a Scottish Cup run of some controversy) – two Dumfries boys whom had sought their footballing careers outside the town. There was also a return to QoS colours for this game by Thomson, Ted McMinn and Rowan Alexander.

Other ideas quickly came along:

* The first senior club in the UK to use a lottery scheme to decide the annual shirt sponsor. Such was the success of the idea that the club became inundated with calls from other clubs enquiring on the best way to set such a scheme up

* Queen of the South became the first club in the world to deploy astro turf on the outside of the touch line on a grass pitch (for linesmen to run along).

* The establishment of a club museum (located within the main stand at Palmerston Park)


(The 1997 Challenge Cup Final Squad. Back - Mallan, Kennedy, Rowe, Thomson, Mathieson, Townsley, Eadie, Aitken, McKeown

Front - Cleeland, Irving, Bryce, McAllister, Flannigan)


QoS went on to relative success under Norman Blount`s Chair. In 1997 the club reached the Scottish Challenge Cup final for the first time. Second Division QoS lost 1-0 to 1st Division Falkirk despite a rousing QoS display at Motherwell`s Fir Park; a performance that included the man of the match award going to QoS veteran central midfield playmaker Tommy Bryce and an early career appearance for future Scotland international Jamie McAllister. Rowan Alexander and Mark Shanks were co-managers at the time. The final also witnessed one of the earlier appearances of Jim Thomson and Andy Aitken lining up in defence together; a common site in the years to unfold.

In 1999 scenes from the Hollywood film A Shot at Glory, starring Robert Duvall, Michael Keaton and Brian Cox were shot at Palmerston Park.



Norman Blount (later described by Jamie McAllister as "different class") stepped down in November 1999 after five years of service, stating in typically candid style that he felt he had taken the club as far as he could. Ronnie Bradford moved up as new Chairman.


Moving back up

Although successful years on the pitch were to follow, the revival suffered a set back in 1999/2000. At the end of a poor season, only a controversial points deduction for Hamilton Academical saved Queen of the South from relegation to the Third Division.

John Connolly was appointed manager the next season, with Iain Scott as coach. QoS moved forward leaps and bounds. With Captain Jim Thomson, QoS ruled the Second Division to take the title in 2001/02. Like 51 years before this was clinched with QoS winning away at Forfar Athletic. This time it was 3-0 with goals by forwards Peter Weatherson (2) and Sean O`Connor leading to jubilant fans pouring on to the pitch after full time. Goal scoring midfielder John O`Neill was awarded divisional player of the year.

The following season saw QoS victorious in the Scottish Challenge Cup with Robbie Neilson, another later to be capped for Scotland, playing his part. Brechin City were condemned to a 2-0 defeat in the final at a bitterly cold Broadwood Stadium. Goals from John O`Neill and Derek Lyle secured the second piece of silverware in as many seasons for the Palmerston trophy cabinet. Added to his previous medal haul, this game made ex Scotland goallie Andy Goram the first player to collect a full set of Scottish domestic winners medals.

Ronnie Bradford left due to ill health in June 2003. Fans comments on the club`s message board thanked Bradford for his steerage, foresight, vision, motivation, inspiration and carrying on the work started by Blount.

After a brief tenure in the Chair for Tommy Harkness, son of Willie, retired farmer Davie Rae was elected to Chairman of Queen of the South.

John Connolly left the club in May 2004 to join former club St Johnstone, with his former assistant Iain Scott taking over. With a second consecutive fifth place spot in 2004, QoS became the first part-time club to remain in the new First Division for more than two years. The chants of `2-0 to the part-time team` would echo gleefully around Palmerston when relishing victory over full-time opposition. QoS finished fourth in the First Division in 2005 under `Scotty` - their highest finish since 1963. Scott stayed at Palmerston until the Autumn of that year. 

A 2006/07 Scottish Cup run that included a replay penalty shoot out victory over Dundee saw QoS make the quarter-finals before Hibernian won 2 -1 at Palmerston.



Chairman Davie Rae made the decision that the club would move to full time football at the start of the 2007/08 season. Gordon Chisholm was announced as being promoted to manager on 28 June 2007 and appointed Kenny Brannigan as his assistant. After an injury filled start to the season QoS picked up with a 10 game unbeaten run in all competitions that started in January. This run propelled them to 4th in Scottish First Division where QoS finished the season – achieving the position with more points than in 2005.

On 8 March 2008, Queen of the South qualified for their first Scottish Cup semi-final in 58 years with a 2-0 quarter-final home victory over Dundee at Palmerston. The goals came from prolific marksman Stephen Dobbie and an 84 yard injury time long distance thump from Ryan McCann, meriting an application to the Guinness Book of Records as the longest distance goal ever scored by an outfield player.


("And Ryan McCann will be mobbed." Bob Harris, Jim Thomson, Jamie MacDonald and Andy Aitken prove the tv commentator correct after the full back writes himself into the record books from 84 yards.)


Two days later QoS were formally mentioned in the House of Commons when the local MP for Dumfries and Galloway tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM 1145):

"That this House congratulates Queen of the South Football Club on a magnificent victory that sees them through to the semi-final of the Scottish Cup for the first time in 58 years; congratulates the entire squad, manager, coaching staff, directors and back-room staff and all the loyal supporters; and wishes them every success at Hampden Park on 12th April."


("We can be heroes" - the Scottish Cup semi final starting line up. The same eleven started in the final the following month.

Thomson, O`Connor, Aitken, Tosh, McCann, McDonald

McFarlane, McQuilken, Dobbie, Harris, Burns)


In the first ever live TV broadcasting of a Queen of the South game, the semi-final was against Premier League side Aberdeen who finished fourth in the league. Over 10,000 QoS fans were in the crowd of 24,008 to witness an astonishing game. Post punk footballer turned telly pundit, Pat Nevin, described the game as, `Hardly defences on top`. Four times QoS took the lead with goals through Stevie Tosh, Paul Burns, Sean O`Connor and John Stewart. 3 times Aberdeen hit back with an equaliser including a goal and two assists from Scotland internationalist and Dumfries boy Barry Nicholson - a boyhood QoS supporter. During an 11 minute spell at the beginning of the second half 5 goals were scored, with the Queen`s fourth goal of the day giving a 4-3 victory for the Doonhamers. Never has post punk Pat been so right. The highest scoring game in a Scottish Cup semi-final took QoS to the final for the first time in their 89 year history. Aberdeen fans in defeat impressively and graciously applauded the Queen`s victory.


(Stevie Tosh opens the scoring in the semi final. Tosh is the only QoS player in history to have scored in both a semi and a final of the Scottish Cup.)


If reaction to the quarter final was joyous, the semi final aftermath was euphoric.

Dumfries-born rugby internationalist Nick De Luca was among those to applaud the semi final heroics. De Luca said: “It was really pleasing to see Queen of the South reach the Scottish Cup Final: that type of result is what sport is all about."

Television presenter Stephen Jardine said, "I`m absolutely over the moon. It was an extremely exciting match and I`m really looking forward to the final."

Prolific author, Hunter Davies, in one of his press columns described the result as "incredible", prompting reminiscing of his boyhood memories of living in Dumfries and supporting QoS.

Golfer and Aberdeen fan Paul Lawrie was every bit as magnanimous as the rest of his fellows Dons fans when he said, "We were all down at Hampden for the semi final against Queen of the South, it wasn`t the result we were after but QoS played well and probably deserved their victory. Good luck to them in the final. Andrew Coltart is a Queen of the South fan so you can imagine the texts and calls I`ve had."

Hollywood legend, Robert Duvall, clearly with warm memories of his time in and around Dumfries when filming nearly a decade earlier, faxed a message of good will ahead of the final.

After four weeks without a competitive game following the end of the Scottish League Division 1 season the final was against Rangers on May 24 again at Hampden Park. Despite a battling second half performance to pull back the 2 goal half time deficit to 2 - 2 QoS eventually lost 3 - 2. The Queen`s scorers were Stevie Tosh and long-serving captain Jim Thomson. Afterwards Tosh said to the press, "We showed what we`re capable of in the second half, and when I went into the Rangers dressing room they knew they had been in a game. But I`m still bitterly disappointed." Tosh then voiced his frustrations at refereeing decisions that went against QoS.


(Jim Thomson makes it 2-2 in the final)


For a team with the core of its support being in a town with a population of 32 000 QoS took a support of around 15 500 to the final. QoS fans have been widely praised for their good humour and carnival like contribution to the day. Musician and producer, Bill Drummond, described QoS goals in the Cup Final as the greatest moment in his life as a QoS fan. Despite defeat in the final 14 000 fans attended an open top bus parade by the team through Dumfries.

From the Scottish Cup run Queen of the South qualified for the 2nd qualification round of the 2008/09 UEFA Cup. Ian McCall on the BBC TV cup final coverage described the Queen`s UEFA Cup qualification as, "The very essence of sport".

QoS were drawn against Danish side FC Nordsjælland with ties scheduled for Thursday August 14 in Scotland and Tuesday August 26 in Denmark. UEFA seating restrictions meant QoS played their home UEFA Cup tie at the Excelsior Stadium - home of Airdrie United.



After surviving two pitch inspection because of heavy rain QoS lost 2-1. Sean O`Connor`s header scored the Queen`s goal. QoS delivered a stronger performance in the return leg, controlling most of the game but with only a goal from a 2nd minute Bob Harris free kick to show for their superiority. With a 1–0 victory of no value in an aggregate result due to the away goals rule, the Danes scored two late goals, taking advantage of QoS reduced to near suicidal tactics at that point in a desperate attempt to salvage the contest. Martin Bernburg scored both for Nordsjælland.

Nordsjaelland head coach Morten Wieghorst applauded Queen of the South`s efforts in the Scottish side`s defeat. "I must give lot of credit to Queen`s, my players looked under pressure. They couldn`t handle it in the first half and we got off to a dreadful start with the early goal for Queen`s. Overall, I think Queen`s had more chances than us."

Nordsjaelland skipper Henrik Kildentoft added: "It wasn`t an easy game. We knew it would be tough, because our manager Morten Wieghorst has played against First Division teams in Scotland himself and he told us they would go for it all the way. Looking back at the game, I would say we delivered a mixed performance - a very bad first half and a good second half."

In the 2008 UEFA Cup qualifying trip to Denmark Queen of the South fans were hailed as "a great credit both to their club and to Scotland" by Danish police. About 850 supporters of the Dumfries club travelled to Denmark to watch the Uefa Cup clash with FC Nordsjaelland.

Despite the fact that their team was eliminated, local police said their behaviour was impressive. Insp Rune Hamann said: "It was a pleasure hosting such a visit by Queen of the South whose supporters were extremely well behaved and a great credit both to their club and to Scotland. Copenhagen was particularly busy in the build up to and after the match with a carnival, party atmosphere being evident. I look forward to welcoming Queen of the South and their terrific supporters back in Denmark in the future."

Ch Insp Mickey Collins from Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary said the fans were a "pleasure to work along with". He added: "Despite the huge numbers of supporters who travelled to Denmark there were no arrests, incidents or issues of any concern. Great praise should be passed on to those fortunate enough to be at the match."

QoS fans were warm in their praise of the warm welcome from their Danish hosts. This hospitality was typified by the Danes providing Doonhamers fans with a free bus convoy from central Copenhagen on match day to and from the stadium 25 km away in Farum.

Among those to play in Denmark was Cammy Bell who has since gone on to become the sitxh player born in Dumfries to gain a full Scottish international cap.


Beyond 2008

With Brannigan taking over as manager for 14 months from March 2010, QoS made it to a third Scottish Challenge Cup Final. The original November fixture was postponed due to inclement weather in a winter that hard hit the Queen`s fixture schedule. The rescheduled game was played in unseasonally warm weather at McDiarmid Park on 10th April 2011. The game itself proved to be a massive disappointment for QoS fans. QoS conceded a poor early goal from which they never recovered. Missing the industry and competitivenss of cup tied Colin McMenamin, QoS were never on top for 90% of the game. The QoS performance was the antithesis of the `beaten but unbowed` 1997 final. Ross County deservedly won 2-0.

On the evening of Saturday 29th October 2011 was the inaugural induction dinner for the club Hall of Fame. The first five inductees were Allan Ball, Tommy Bryce, Billy Houliston, Jim Patterson and the ex-player who organised the dinner was the then QoS Commercial Manager, Jim Thomson.

The last season of Davie Rae`s tenure, 2011/12, was a season of austerity and stabilising budgets. There was on the pitch disappointment with QoS conceding too many late goals. 10 seasons after the 2002 promotion, QoS were relegated to the third tier of the Scottish league system.

With new Chairman Billy Hewitson, 2012/13 under the management of Allan Johnston assisted by Sandy Clark was a complete contrast to the season before. That QoS team that season were in with a decent shout against any team in Scotland with the probable exception of Celtic. Early season omens were good including a 2-0 League Cup win against Hibs with Nicky Clark and Gavin Reilly scoring. On 25 September in the League Cup, top tier Dundee United winning 1-0 were the 1st team that season to claim victory against QoS. Fielding their strongest available side after what this QoS team had done to Hibs, United survived a tsunami of 2nd half QoS pressure to end the 11 game QoS unbeaten start to the season. In the Scottish Cup that season, The Queen`s were denied a fair chance to further test themselves against top tier opponents; Stephen McKenna enjoying an excellent season in central midfield with Derek Young, was harshly sent off within the 1st 90 seconds of the 2-1 defeat at Kilmarnock (Clark scored for QoS).

En route to a fourth Challenge Cup Final, The Doonhamers became the first team to beat Rangers since their demotion to the 4th tier of the Scottish league set up. Clark and Reilly again scored earning a 2-2 draw for extra time and penalties at Ibrox. Lee Robinson`s save from Dean Shiels separated the 2 sides who both hit the woodwork once in their 5 allotted spot kicks. QoS won the shoot out 4-3 with Clark, Young and Reilly scoring their penalties before Ryan McGuffie sparked euphoria scoring the clincher.



Form in the league was excellent with QoS front running from early in the campaign. Fate intervened in the title clincher, 27th March 2013. Brechin`s quagmire pitch gave them a fixture backlog and were the last team with an arithmetical chance to catch miles ahead QoS. The game was switched from Brechin to be played at nearby Forfar`s Station Park, the site of both the previous QoS divisional title clinching triumphs (1951 and 2002). With an immense display of attacking football, QoS blew Brechin away with a five goal avalanche before half time. February signing Michael Paton and Nicky Clark scored two each. A Chris Mitchell cross was deflected in for an own goal. Gavin Reilly added a 6th in the second half to complete an emphatic away victory with none conceded in return. QoS went back up in in style with six games to spare and as the first team of the season to clinch a divisional title in Scotland or England.



The juggernaut continued 12 days later in the Challenge Cup Final against the SFL1 leaders, Partick Thistle. In extra time Nicky Clark headed in a rebound from Danny Carmichael`s shot against the bar. Scenes of highest drama followed. In the 118th minute, Thistle`s Dumfries born Aaron Muirhead had a penalty saved by Lee Robinson. In the ensuing melee Muirhead was sent off. Two minutes later though, battling Thistle equalised through Kris Doolan in the last few seconds of open play to make it 1-1. Cometh the man, cometh the hour. Penalty specialist Robinson saved spot kicks from Stephen O`Donnell and Konrad Balatoni, and scored one himself for a 6-5 win in the shoot out. Derek Young, Marc Fitzpatrick (signed specifically with the final in mind after Kevin Holt became suspended), Gavin Reilly, Chris Mitchell and Chris Higgins were the other shoot out QoS scorers. This is the first ever Queen of the South senior football double trophy win in one season.

QoS ended the double winning season 25 points ahead of their nearest challenger. In doing so they set a new divisional points record of 92, 4 better than the previous 88 set by Gretna. Nicky Clark was the primary beneficiary of the near relentless conveyor belt of opportunities manufactured by his team mates. Clark equalled the 81 year old club record set by Jimmy Rutherford of 41 goals in a season. After winning a string of divisional manager of the month awards Allan Johnston won the PFA Scotland Manager of the Year award. Carmichael and Clark were both short listed for the PFA Scotland Second Division Player of the Year with Clark taking the accolade. Lee Robinson, Chris Mitchell, Mark Durnan and Chris Higgins joined Carmichael and Clark as 6 QoS players in the divisional PFA Scotland Team of the Year.

Other than Robinson (signed by Graham Potter and ex-QoS Billy Reid at Östersund in Sweden) and Clark (joining Rangers), QoS retained the key players who ended the promotion season above (Wullie Gibson had left before the season`s end). Andy Dowie and local boy Iain Russell both arrived to great effect from the start of season 2013-14, as did new manager, Jim McIntrye. Under McIntyre, ex-QoS youth player Ian McShane very quickly broke through as a 1st team regular. It was not though until the excellent Zander Clark arrived in mid October for the 1st of 2 seasons on loan from St Johnstone that Robinson was adequately replaced.

QoS repeated the feat of the season before of eliminating a top division side in the League Cup. This time it was the reigning trophy holders, St Mirren, 2-1 after extra time when both Stephen McKenna and Michael Paton scored 25 yard missiles. QoS ended the season in fourth place in the Scottish football second tier for a first ever taste of play off football. A Bob McHugh double gave QoS a 1st leg 2-1 comeback home win v Falkirk. With Carmichael in great form, McHugh added to the QoS aggregate lead in the away leg putting The Doonhamers 3-1 up on aggregate at half-tme in Falkirk. Dumfries born Rory Loy pulled a goal back on 53 mins. Craig Sibbald levelled the aggregate score in 70 mins in controversial circumstances when Dowie was down injured. The Queen`s were eliminated after conceding a Blair Alston goal, this tme with 2 minutes still on the clock to lose the leg 3-1. Aggregate final score; Falkirk 4 - 3 QoS.

2014-15 was the 3rd of 3 consecutive memorable QoS seasons, helped like the season before by stability of the most important players of a formidable Doonhamers squad; the ageing Derek Young and Ryan McGuffie (relocating to Australia in February 2015) were the most notable departures. Another senior player, James Fowler moved up from 1st team fringe player to manager. The squad had no additions of particular note but Lewis Kidd under Fowler moved from fringe player to 1st team regular. QoS finished in the fourth place play off place. The top 3 places in that season`s division went to Hibs (2nd), Rangers (3rd) and the season`s runaway divisional winners, Hearts. Hibs were twice beaten 1-0 by The Queen`s that season; McShane scored the winner at home in September. Durnan scored when winning at Easter Road in April.

Rangers were beaten twice by QoS at Palmerston during that league campaign. Holt and Reilly each scored goal of the season candidates winning 2-0 in December. In the 3-0 win in April Lyle`s flick up and volley was perhaps his best goal at any of his clubs and not just at QoS. Lee Wallace deflected into his own goal a dangerous ball in from Lewis Kidd, before Reilly scored the 3rd. Lyle scored when QoS despite putting in a very competitive performance, lost the end of season play-off 1st leg disappointingly 2-1 at home against Rangers. Lyle scored to put The Queen`s level on aggregate at half time Ibrox. Rangers scored though in the 2nd half to knock The Queen`s out 3-2 on aggregate in a thrilling play-off 2nd leg of abundant great chances at both ends. The Rangers fans commendably applauded the QoS players off the pitch at full time.

Paul Burns aged 31, retired from senior football in July 2015 to take up work outside of professional football. Burns scored 37 goals in his played 339 competitive 1st team QoS games. He played throughout the run to the 2008 Scottish Cup Final, memorably scoring in the semi-final win v Aberdeen. He also played for The Queen`s the following season in the UEFA Cup. He was part of the Doonhamers squads that won the double in 2012/13 and reached the SPFL Premiership play offs in the 2 subsequent seasons.

In 2015/16 QoS chalked up a further 1-0 league win against Hibs, this time courtesy of an Andy Murdoch thunderbolt. In 2016/17, Gavin Skelton in charge in the early part of the season managed QoS to a come back 3-1 win at divisional rivals Hibernian in the last 16 of the league cup. The Queen`s goals came from newly returned Stephen Dobbie, plus Grant Anderson and Lyndon Dykes.

With Rangers and Dundee United swapping divisions in the Scottish League for 2016/17, Gary Naysmith managed QoS winning 4-2 at home in the league on 1 April 2017 ending a winless run v Dundee United dating back to the George Farm player/manager years in the top division; 8 September 1962. Lyle, Dobbie and Dykes all scored QoS goals that April day as did Paul Dixon with an o.g. under pressure from Dale Hilson. On 20 March 2018 QoS won 3-2 at Tannadice to end a winless run at that venue dating back to 2 January 1933 when QoS were en route to their first ever promotion to the top tier. Joe Thomson goals sandwiched a Kai Jacobs penalty for The Queen`s to burst that winless run.

Derek Lyle made his last competitive first team appearance in a QoS jersey on 21 April 2018, when QoS chalked up a 3-0 home win against Dundee United. Lyle however was not among The Queen`s goalscorers that day of Dykes, Joe Thomson and Connor Murray. Lyle scored 117 Doonhamers first team goals in 365 appearances. In 2 spells with The Queen`s, Lyle was part of divisional tile and Challenge Cup winning teams in both 2002 and 2013. He is thus the 1st player to be part of 4 senior Scottish football trophy winning QoS teams. Lyle was also important in both QoS teams to make the SPFL Premiership play offs in 2014 and 2015.

In the 2018/19 centenary season, QoS eliminated top division Dundee in a 3-0 Scottish Cup home replay with a Stephen Dobbie hat-trick. In the end of season play-off 5-0 home win v Montrose, Stephen Dobbie scored his sixth hat-trick of 2018/19, ably assisted throughout the season by Lyndon Dykes. Dykes and Michael Doyle also scored in that Montrose mauling. This put Dobbie on 43 goals for the season, surpassing the previous QoS club record of 41 shared by Jimmy Rutherford (1931/32) and Nicky Clark (2012/13). Dobbie`s second goal in that game made him only the 2nd player in history after Jim Patterson to reach 150 competitive QoS first ream goals. That 5-0 win gave QoS a 6-2 aggregate success v Montrose after the away first leg 2-1 defeat in which Murray was The Queen`s scorer. Dykes, Murray and Dykes again (by now looking every inch a prospective full Scotland cap with each passing week), scored when QoS won 3-1 at Raith Rovers before drawing the home second leg 0-0 in the play off final. The Queen`s thus maintain a status in the second tier of professional football in Scotland. Dobbie ended the season with the both PFA Scotland and the sponsor`s Player of the Year Awards. His inclusion in the divisional Team of the Year was his third in a row since returning to QoS.

All SFA affiliated football was postponed indefinitely on 13 March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Queen`s were on a bad run of form at the time having not won a game since New Year. This was not helped by Rangers recalling early from loan in January, Robby McCrorie who had performed excellently in goals (Rangers instead loaned McCrorie to Livingston in the top division). The Scottish football authorities subsequently decided to assign final table positions based on average points per game played to date that season. QoS with 28 points from 28 games were positioned 9th, averaging 1.00 points per game. Bottom in 10th, Partick Thistle were relegated based on 26 points from the 27 games they had played (average points, 0.96) The end of season play offs were cancelled removing them as a potential relegation vector for QoS who were in the play off spot in the table at the time.

Stephen Dobbie ended his senior playing days at the end of the season in 2021. Dobble scored 166 goals for QoS in 283 competitive 1st team games. This places him 2nd on the all time QoS goalscoring charts behind Jim Patterson (251 goals) and ahead of Bobby Black (120), Derek Lyle (117) and Andy Thomson (114). Dobbie scored in the run to the 2008 Scottish Cup Final. Dobbie played for The Queen`s in the UEFA Cup in which it still seems incredulous such an inspirational talent as he, wasn`t given more UEFA Cup game time. Also at the end of that season, Ayo Obileye and Connor Shields of The Queen`s were both named in the divisional PFA Scotland Team of the Year.

Queen of the South`s 9 season 2nd tier run ended at the end of season 2021/22. Like 2 season`s before, QoS were hindered by the January early recall from loan of an excellently performing young goalkeeper (this time Sol Brynn by Middlesbrough). Unlike 2 seasons before though, the dire result sequence had started in mid-October rather than January. This was the 3rd time of the last 4 season`s end that QoS finished in the bottom 2. A rare highlight that season was the run to the Scottish Challenge Cup Final. Ally Roy equalised for The Queen`s in 1st half injury time. QoS though were unable to handle Matej Poplatnik inspiring Raith Rovers to a 3-1 win.

Next Match

1st Round
New Broomfield
Sat 27th Jul 2024 @ 3:00 PM