OCHILVIEW, where tenants Queen’s Park will do battle with Dundee tomorrow night for the cinch Championship trophy, is about as far removed from Wembley as it is possible to get.

Even with the SPFL last week ordering the home team to double the visitors’ ticket allocation to 1,000 for the second tier title decider.

Yet, Gary Bowyer, the Dens Park club’s manager, will treat the match at the Stenhousemuir venue this evening exactly the same as his visit to the spiritual home of English football six years ago.

Bowyer led Blackpool, where he spent two seasons in the dugout, through to the League Two play-off final back in 2017 and then oversaw a 2-1 win over Exeter City in front of a crowd of 23,380.

The 51-year-old has fond memories of the match and the occasion. However, he will feel exactly the same exhilaration and tension as his men take to the field for their final league fixture of the 2022/23 campaign tonight.

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If Dundee, who are two points clear of their second-placed opponents, draw or win they will be crowned champions and secure promotion back to the Premiership at the first time of asking. Lose, and they will finish runners-up to their rivals and be forced to go through the play-offs.

“This is the first time I have been involved in a league which has been as close as this,” he said yesterday. “But I have been the manager in a play-off final, which technically this game is.

“With Blackpool we had the play-off semi-final over two legs against Luton and then we beat Exeter in the final. It was brilliant. Leading your team out at Wembley? It was unbelievable, a fabulous experience, a wonderful time.

“They say that if you can win and get promoted in the play-off final at Wembley it is better than getting promoted automatically. But it delays your holiday, that’s for sure.”

Bowyer added: “But this is exactly the same. It is exciting. It’s been good all week. The players have been good. We have had a bit of fun with them, have worked hard with them, are looking forward to Friday now.

“We have done exactly the same preparation that we have done for the previous 35 games and the cup games. If we can be unbeaten at the end of these 90 minutes, we will have achieved this objective from the start of the season.

“We have just got to go there and do our jobs. That has been the message to the players all week. It has not changed from the start of the season. We are asking them to do it again on Friday now.”

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Queen’s Park had rejected a request from Dundee for more than 400 briefs and there was a very real danger the biggest Championship game of the season – a match which is being broadcast live by BBC Scotland - would go ahead in a half-empty stadium.

Bowyer was pleased when he learned the SPFL had intervened and not at all surprised when he saw that Dark Blues fans had camped out overnight to get their hands on tickets.

“I got educated last week on the ticket thing,” he said. “I have seen that people have got more tickets, it means that more can go and obviously that helps with the atmosphere.”

“It is incredible. They have been brilliant with myself and Billy (assistant Barr) ever since we have arrived. They have also been great with the team. They have followed us around the country in great numbers. I am pleased that we have been able to get more in on Friday night now.”

Bowyer’s father Ian, a double European Cup winner with Nottingham Forest in his playing days, travelled up to Dundee, where he spent a spell on the coaching staff at United, to watch the penultimate Championship fixture with Cove Rangers last weekend.

The former midfielder’s advice to his son after that 0-0 draw and ahead of the Queen’s Park match was to focus on the task in hand and keep it simple - and his words of wisdom have been taken on board.

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“He says the same thing as me,” said Bowyer Jnr. “You have to concentrate and do your job. It is a bit boring and repetitive, but that’s the message. The main thing to do is concentrate on doing your job.

“It is not a case of reinventing the wheel, it’s just keeping to the basics. It’s not about centre halves all becoming dribblers and thinking they are Messi. They’ve all got to do the jobs they have been doing all season.

“That’s been the message to the players - nothing changes. It’s the next game. We want to approach it in the same manner. Any manager will tell you, you can’t go and set up for a draw. You just have to go on the front foot and have a right good go and that’s what we have to do.”