Raydale Cup: A profile of Queen of the South
South Shields will return to match action from the summer break on Saturday when the Raydale Cup begins in Gretna.
The Mariners will play once on Saturday and once on Sunday, with Ayr United, Queen of the South and Gretna also taking part in the competition.
There is expected to be a strong contingent of travelling supporters from Shields, while advance weekend and day tickets are on sale from http://www.gretnafc2008shop.co.uk/raydale-tickets.html while they will also be available on the day.
Yesterday, we had a closer look at Ayr United, who the Mariners will face in Saturday’s semi-final.
Today, we profile Queen of the South, who Shields could come up against on Sunday, with Gretna to be focused on tomorrow.
Last season, they finished seventh, while in the recent past, they have also enjoyed great success in cup competitions.
In the 2007-08 season, they had a remarkable run to the final of the Scottish Cup, with a 4-3 semi-final win over Aberdeen at Hampden Park set to live long in the memory.
Queens also put up a superb effort in the final against Rangers, coming from 2-0 down to level at 2-2 before falling to a 3-2 defeat.
Reaching the final also earned them a spot in the UEFA Cup, where they were narrowly beaten by Danish side FC Nordsjælland in the second qualifying round.
Queen of the South have won the Scottish League Challenge Cup twice – most recently in 2013 – to add to their cup pedigree.
There are links between Shields and Queens.
In the late 1940s, the Harkness brothers played for South Shields, with Willie going on to become a director at Queen of the South.
He was instrumental to a link which was created between the two clubs, which saw pre-season fixtures take place between them in the 1960s.
Another player, Alan Smith, later moved to the Mariners from Queen of the South.
The club was formed in 1919, and play their home games at Palmerston Park, which houses 8,690 spectators.
Among their most famous former players is legendary striker Hughie Gallacher, who started his career with Queens before going on to become one of Newcastle United’s best-remembered No9s.
The club is currently managed by Gavin Skelton, who took over this April as caretaker manager, and was handed the full-time role of player-manager a year later.
The former Workington manager represented the likes of Carlisle United, Gretna and Kilmarnock earlier in his playing career.
Queen of the South is another professional club represented in the Raydale Cup, and will take some stopping over the weekend.
On Saturday, they will face hosts Gretna, with the winners of that to take on the victors of the South Shields-Ayr United tie on Sunday.
The two losing teams will also take part in the third-place play-off.
Tomorrow, we will take a closer look at Gretna.