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Speirs hopes Friday night lights can lift Hampden gloom

The Friday night experiment?

It may sound like some ropey horror movie but Scottish football's trial with such end-of-the-week evening affairs has been far from hands over the eyes stuff. Dundee United 3 Kilmarnock 3, Dundee 1 Inverness Caledonian Thistle 4 . . . it's all made for rather pleasant viewing if the truth be told. Now, it's the third division's turn for Friday night lights as Hampden Park stages the first such encounter in the bottom tier.

Perhaps the change may do Queen's Park and Stirling Albion good. They could certainly do with a morale boost. The visitors, who caused a stir by beating Rangers but remain anchored to the foot of the table, will arrive in Mount Florida on a downer having leaked nine goals in their previous two outings. The hosts, meanwhile, sit in fourth, among the promotion pushers, but a not so magnificent seven matches without a win has thrown a spanner into the previously smooth-running works.

"A Friday night game is certainly something new for me but I'm sure if we win I'll become a big fan of it," said Gardner Speirs, the Queen's Park manager.

Speirs has been trying to put his finger on just what has gone wrong of late. After an encouraging start to the campaign, the Spiders have become entangled in a winless web. "We just need that result that's going to kick-start things again and get us off on a run," said the 49-year-old. "There have been games when we haven't made the right choices at times. We've been getting in good positions but have not been making the most of it, either with a disappointing final pass or a poor final shot. But form is temporary and I'm sure three points will change things."

Back in September, Speirs' men made the trek north to face Elgin City, who now sit second in the league, and conjured a thumping 4-0 win. A month later, they made the short hop to Govan and put in a spirited display during a 2-0 loss to Rangers. These two matches have proved just what the plucky part-timers are capable of but, since that robust display at a packed Ibrox, Queen's Park have suffered something of a hangover.

"One thing that we can never accuse our guys of is not putting in the effort or failing to lift themselves for any game," insisted Speirs. "We played very well at Ibrox and put in a lot of work and I do take the point that playing there in front of a big crowd was bigger than the norm and of course it was an occasion for the boys.

"But there has never been a problem with application in any game and against any team. We're just not in top form at the moment. We need a wee boost and we'll be trying hard to get that win tomorrow evening. The 4-0 win up at Elgin shows just what we can do if we get it right. We'll keep working hard and I'm sure we'll get that break we need."

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