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Shield-ing from the drop zone!

Red-hot striker aims to keep up scoring form

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By Euan Maxwell
Shield-ing from the drop zone!
Connor Shields hopes to keep up his red-hot form. Pic:QoS

ATTACKER Connor Shields hopes to continue his red-hot form in front of goal and help Queen of the South into the next round of the Scottish Cup.

The 23-year-old was the standout performer in the Doonhamers’ dramatic 3-2 victory over Ayr United at Palmerston Park where he netted twice, including a breathtaking injury time winner.

Shields – who has scored four goals in his last three matches – believes confidence has returned to the Queens’ dressing room after consecutive Championship victories.

He said: “It was a massive three points for us. Before the Raith game last Tuesday we were on a bad run, not picking up points and giving away a lot of goals.

“But the results have given us confidence and it shows how much we’ve grown as a team in a short period of time. We had to come back from behind on Saturday and then had to quickly regroup with Ayr’s equaliser and managed to win the game.”

It has been some turnaround from the Dumfries outfit who had gone on a four-game losing run. And during that run they lost captain and talisman Stephen Dobbie with a hamstring injury. However, Shields has grabbed the striker’s baton and has proved he can lead the line for the Doonhamers with some sensational recent performances.

He added: “It’s not ideal that Dobs is out for a while but it’s down to us to get goals. It can’t come down to him scoring all the time so we’ve had to step up.

“I originally started playing as a striker but for the last few seasons I’ve been playing out wide and not scored as many goals. The last few matches I’ve been playing through the middle, which I actually prefer, and it’s paying off. Hopefully I can continue to do so.”

Next up for Shields and Queens is a tricky away trip to Hampden as they take on League Two leaders Queen’s Park in Scottish Cup action.

The Spiders – who have spent big this season in a bid to return to League One – are no strangers to Queens this season after previously meeting in the Betfred Cup. Queens came out 3-1 victors that night at Hampden Park and Shields hopes for more of the same tonight, which will be televised on BBC Scotland.

“We have to go and take the confidence from the last two matches and keep the momentum going. It doesn’t matter who we are playing. Hopefully we can progress and build up more confidence for our next league match against Inverness on Tuesday night.”

Manager Allan Johnston stated he won’t take Queen’s Park lightly and hopes the team can book their place in the next round.

Queens boss Allan Johnston is expecting a tough cup tie

He said: “We’re definitely not going to underestimate them. They are probably paying double than what we’re paying. They’re paying a lot of money and have Premier League players playing in that division. We can’t compete with teams like Queen’s Park financially but the boys are going to Hampden to put on a good performance and make sure we get through to the next round.”

The manager also praised his side’s character after winning back-to-back league wins for the first time since December 2019.

He said: “I don’t think we started the game well but then we started to get control of it and started to cause them problems. We defended well as a team and created chances as well.

“I was gutted for the boys when Ayr scored at the end. They put so much into the game and to lose a goal in the last minutes of the game is very frustrating. But coming back like that should stand us in good stead in the future.

“You can see the players gave everything. I thought some of the performances were brilliant, especially Connor. In the last few games he’s hit top form and you can see what a top talent he is with the pace he’s got. Centre-halves hate playing against him and you can see he can finish as well.

“I thought the rest of the team were excellent as well. We knew turning things around would take hard work and that has shown in the last two matches. We’ve got to make sure we don’t let those levels stop.”

You can watch Queen of the South’s Scottish Cup tie with Queen’s Park tonight on BBC Scotland. Kick-off is at 7.45 pm. 

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