Queen of the South manager Gary Naysmith was baffled that the fourth official at Sunday’s Irn-Bru Cup match didn’t know the new rule introduced which allows an additional, fourth, substitute when cup clashes go to extra-time.
“Myself and the opposing manager [Scott Ruscoe of TNS] were both telling the fourth official we can bring on a fourh sub, but he was telling us we can’t,” explains the former Scotland internation to Queen of the South’s YouTube channel, QOSTV. “We both explained to him we had done it in the last round – we were actually stopped from making a substitution in the first period of extra time, until he had clarified that rule [with the referee] and that can’t be right as surely everyone needs to know the rules; both managers seemed to agree over the rule but the officials didn’t seem to be aware of the same rules as us.
I understand what they are saying, in terms of they hadn’t seen that rule in black and white to say we could make a fourth sub, but, we were potentially looking to bring someone else on quicker – it didn’t affect the game, however, I am saying that if we are going to introduce these things into the cup to make it more interesting for the fans then let’s make sure everyone knows the rules.”
Looking back on the game and the result as a whole, the ex-East Fife boss summarised by saying:
“I am hurting for the players with the effort I felt we put into the game. For the first 25 or 30 minutes, TNS settled better and caused us a few problems after they put an extra man in midfield (having changed their formation from how they played last week) and it caught us cold a wee bit and we had to change slightly. Although we had created a few opportunities in that time, I felt the first half kind of evened itself out, but, for me personally, from the second half onwards – including extra-time – I thought we were the dominant team and a side that looked like they were more likely to score. We missed a couple of great chances to stop the game going to penalties but we didn’t take them.”
After a 0-0 draw, the penalty-shoot-out didn’t start ideally either for TNS or Queen of the South with the opening four penalties being missed.
“When they missed their first one I thought “we’ve got a chance” then the goalie saved from Del [Derek Lyle] before they missed their second one and you are saying “just score this one” and we miss…once it went to 2-2, I think most of the fans, like me, would think “is this going to be our day?”. It goes to 3-3 and then 4-3 to them in sudden death before the miss by Andy [Stirling] but the players were brave.
I picked the players and I wouldn’t change them. Del and Dobbs [Stephen Dobbie] always go up first for us, and if we were to be in another penalty-shoot-out next weekend, they’d be the first two up again; no blame is attached as on another day they would have scored them. We are out the cup but I am trying to get the positives across to the players; we played as well as we had in previous weeks. If this was a league game you’d say it is another point away from home, a decent result and you’d take it: unfortunately it is a cup competition and we are out. Good luck to TNS, I thought they were a decent outfit that if you don’t get it right, they can cause you problems.”
Despite the defeat, Naysmith remains upbeat.
“If we had gotten through today, we had just as good a chance as anyone to go on and lift it [the Irn-Bru Cup]. There wasn’t a lot of talking done in the dressing room after the game as the players are hurting. We are all disappointed as we have just gone out of a cup that we feel we shouldn’t be out of it. We need to remember we are doing well in the league and we have another big game next weekend [against Montrose] in the Scottish Cup – all our focus needs to now turn to that.”