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Airdrieonians 1-2 Queen’s Park (agg 2-3): Spiders make history to reach Championship

Simon Murray scored the winning goal in both the semi-final and final

Queen’s Park have reached the Scottish Championship for the first time after coming from behind to beat Airdrieonians in their play-off final.

The Glasgow side have now won successive promotions in their second full season since ditching their long-held amateur status.

Rhys McCabe’s superb early curling free-kick was cancelled out by a Connor Smith strike early on.

And Simon Murray slotted an extra-time penalty for a 3-2 aggregate win.

It will be the first time Queen’s Park have played in Scotland’s second tier since the league was re-organised into three divisions in 1975.

Airdrie’s absence from the second tier stretches to a ninth year after their second play-off final defeat in a row, having lost out a year ago to Greenock Morton.

Ian Murray’s side had gone into the final as strong favourites after a superb comeback win over Montrose in the semis and having suffered just one defeat in 18 games.

Pipped to the title by Cove Rangers, they finished 21 points and two places ahead of fourth-top Queen’s Park and had defeated the visitors four times in seven meetings this season, losing only once.

And, having come from behind to secure a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Firhill, they started the brighter in front of their home fans and took the lead through McCabe, the midfielder adding to his first-leg penalty.

Queen’s Park, who had also won away from home to relegate Dunfermline Athletic in their semi-final, struck back when on-loan Hearts midfielder Connor Smith fired under unsighted goalkeeper Max Currie after the home side failed to clear their penalty box.

Currie saved from Luca Connell and Louis Longridge in normal time – then Murray at the start of extra time.

However, although the visitors looked to have wasted a swift break by Jack Thomson with the midfielder’s misplaced pass, Murray was pushed to the ground by Dylan Easton and the former Dundee and Hibernian striker rose to fire home the winning goal.

Murray, who had scored the opener in the first leg and the late winner against Dunfermline, was denied twice more by Currie before the final whistle signalled celebrations among the visiting support as they ended the season unbeaten in five games under former Airdrie striker Owen Coyle, who does not officially take charge until this summer.

Queen’s Park coach John Potter: “It’s amazing – a big team effort. There have been a lot of changes at the club and we’ve had to hang in at times, but we managed to do that and we turned up and managed to put in a good performance when it really mattered.

“I did think we were the better team today and we’re delighted to be promoted. I came here in January, it’s been enjoyable, I know the manager and we’ll see what happens next.”

Line-ups

Airdrieonians

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Currie
  • 16Watson
  • 7McCabe
  • 6Fordyce
  • 3PatersonBooked at 106mins
  • 8AgnewBooked at 79minsSubstituted forKerrat 113′minutes
  • 13AfolabiSubstituted forMcGillat 77′minutes
  • 21Frizzell
  • 10EastonBooked at 79mins
  • 11SmithSubstituted forMcGillat 99′minutes
  • 9GallagherSubstituted forAllanat 90+2′minutesBooked at 115mins

Substitutes

  • 4Kerr
  • 14Allan
  • 15McDonald
  • 18Cantley
  • 19Walker
  • 20MacDonald
  • 23McGill
  • 24McGill
  • 25Devenny

Queen’s Park

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 12Ferrie
  • 24Doyle
  • 5GrantSubstituted forKildayat 98′minutes
  • 19Fox
  • 3Robson
  • 10Brown
  • 8LyonSubstituted forThomsonat 78′minutes
  • 7LongridgeSubstituted forMcHughat 68′minutes
  • 48ConnellSubstituted forQuitongoat 90′minutes
  • 27Smith
  • 23Murray

Substitutes

  • 2Davidson
  • 4Kilday
  • 9McHugh
  • 11Quitongo
  • 17Heraghty
  • 22Thomson
  • 28Longstaff
  • 29McBride
  • 49Darcy

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