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No pies but Arbroath still gave Championship rivals food for thought on flag day

Greig Spence.
Greig Spence.

There may have been no hot pies but Arbroath still gave the rest of the Championship food for thought on Saturday.

An electrical fault meant the ovens weren’t working and the bad news brought a collective sharp intake of breath when it was broadcast to the Gayfield crowd.

Nevertheless, the Lichties dished up a battling display against Queen of the South that showed they won’t be anybody’s soft touches in their new division.

Even the sun was shining on a ground that has been known to be a bit chilly at times and there was only a slight breeze that bothered the League One flag as it was unfurled before kick-off.

Manager Dick Campbell revealed that his pre-match talk to his players had been about how much they deserved to be where they are.

They responded to his words by going toe to toe with the Doonhamers and avoiding every punch that was thrown thewir way.

Indeed, it was the Angus men who had the ball in the net when Greig Spence finished off Bobby Linn’s cutback in the second half but the flag had gone up for offside against Linn.

Spence said: “I sort of thought Bobby was offside. I saw his run at the time but it would be good to see it back on TV.

“It was tight and I suppose it is good that we are creating chances like that.

“On another day, it would have won us the game.

Arbroath also had arguably the chance of the game in the first half when Steven Doris found himself right in front of goal but headed straight at Queens keeper Robby McCrorie.

All in all, it was a good day out for the healthy 1,100 crowd.

Spence added: “It was not a bad start for us.

“Obviously, you want to win the game but I am delighted with our performance because we battled away well and chances to go on and win it.

“You have to go into a new season with confidence.

“If you think you are going to get beat then it is never going to work for you.

“We love training, love playing for the management team and love working for each other so hopefully that will stand us in good stead over the course of the season.

“We will be sticking together and looking to get enough points to stay in this league.

“It is natural for people to write off part-time teams but I think both us and Alloa will be good enough to pick up points this season.”

Lichties boss Campbell enjoyed the occasion and seemed happy with a draw to open the campaign.

He said: “I wouldn’t say it was a great game but it was end to end stuff.

“I am delighted to pick up a point against a young, enthusiastic and full-time Queen of the South team.

“With a bit of luck we could have won the game.

“That one (Spence’s ‘goal’) didn’t look offside to me, to be honest with you, but I’m not going to start an argument about referees on the first day of the season.

“It looked a good goal because the ball went inside the full-back and Bobby went wide.

“I said to everybody before the game that we have earned the right to unfurl that flag. Nobody should be under any illusions about that.

“I had eight players start this game who have won two championships in three season so everything is hunky-dory. I have no complaints at all.”

Queens manager Allan Johnston, who was without goal machine Stephen Dobbie, said his team should expect to come to Arbroath and leave with three points.

He added: “We had loads of chances but needed a wee bit of quality and composure to finish the off.

“I dare say that if Dobbs was playing today he probably would have scored three or four.

“That is the kind of quality we are missing.

“No disrespect to Arbroath but we should be coming here and winning. It is a frustrating one for us all.”

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