Simon Murray salvaged a late point for Dundee United with a last-gasp equaliser.
Despite getting off to the perfect start with an opener from the same man, they found themselves 3-1 down after Stephen Dobbie, Joe Thomson and Dominic Thomas all found the target.
Scott Fraser pulled a goal back and then, in the 89th minute, Murray made it 3-3.
In the context of the league, this was a bad day for United’s title hopes, however.
With Hibs winning at Dumbarton they now sit six points behind the Championship leaders.
United were ahead after just four minutes.
Murray cleverly wrong-footed Andy Dowie on the edge of the box and was clinical with a high finish past Lee Robinson.
It was all United in the early stages and referee Alan Muir had a big decision to make on 11 minutes when Dowie got hold of Thomas Mikkelsen’s shirt at the edge of the box. If Muir had awarded a foul he would have had to get his red card out as well, but he controversially left the incident unpunished.
Seconds later there was a first scare for the home team when Lewis Toshney was short with a header back to his keeper, but John Rankin couldn’t cash in with an attempted lob.
The balance of the game was shifting and Queens grabbed an equaliser on 28 minutes. Danny Carmichael played Dobbie in at the back post and the finish from a tight angle, with Cammy Bell rushing out to block him, was as composed as you would expect from the deadliest finisher in the league.
The Tangerines were enduring a flat spell and Murray did his best to change that as the half drew to a close when he chased down what looked like a lost cause and crossed to the back post, where there were no takers.
Murray had sparked the hosts back to life and he curled a shot that looked as if it was going to find the far corner but Robinson got his fingertips to it and helped the low effort on to the outside of the post.
The United goalscorer had been Ray McKinnon’s main penalty box threat by some distance and when he got a glancing header to an inswinging corner, his strike-partner Mikkelsen was a fraction away from connecting at the back post.
McKinnon’s men started the second period on the front foot as well but there was a sucker punch on 52 minutes when the visitors took a shock lead.
Mark Durnan looked to have the situation under control when Dobbie threaded a ball through to Thomson but the centre-back was unable to prevent a shot being struck and it went through Bell’s legs into the net.
United took a while to recover and a wild shot from Mikkelsen was their next effort of note just before the hour.
On 64 minutes Dobbie had a chance to make it 3-1 but his left foot shot from just outside the box was a couple of yards off target.
Queens didn’t have long to wait for their third, though, as a minute later Thomas gave Bell no chance with a 25-yard rocket.
United had a lifeline on 77 minutes when they reduced the deficit. A Blair Spittal cross, was kept alive at the back post by Toshney and Fraser drilled his shot into the ground and into the net.
And then on 89 minutes Murray was the right man in the right place to finish off a Tope Obadeyi cross from close range.
In stoppage time Durnan nearly completed a remarkable comeback but his header was kept out.