Scottish Daily Mail

Derby win would be so sweet for Barr

- STEPHEN McGOWAN at Cap­pielow

IT’S not all about Rangers and Hibs. In the Cham­pi­onship, strange things are hap­pen­ing. Un­ex­pected chal­lengers are emerg­ing. Twelve months ago, Mor­ton’s Bobby Barr was work­ing in a cake fac­tory, his day be­gin­ning at 6am. Granted a sec­ond chance of full-time foot­ball, the ic­ing on a slowly ris­ing ca­reer would be a 15-point lead over ri­vals St Mir­ren by the end of Fri­day’s Ren­frew­shire derby. Creep­ing into the play-off places af­ter their fourth league win in a row, Mor­ton are sur­pris­ing ev­ery­body. Pre-sea­son expectatio­ns were of a grim bat­tle for sur­vival. A dog­fight with Al­loa and Dum­bar­ton to avoid the drop as St Mir­ren chal­lenged the top two and Falkirk. On-loan striker Denny John­stone has been the dif­fer­ence. The for­mer Celtic youth player, now on Birm­ing­ham City’s books, made it five in four games with his dou­ble against Queen of the South. Barr, a close chal­lenger for the spon­sor’s man of the match, is savour­ing an­other taste of full-time foot­ball. ‘I was work­ing in a cake fac­tory last year — it paid the bills and you can­not com­plain,’ he said. ‘But this is what you want to do, be full-time and play ev­ery Satur­day. ‘The hours here are to­tally dif­fer­ent from work­ing from six un­til half two ev­ery day and then go­ing to train­ing at night. So it does make you ap­pre­ci­ate it more.’ John­stone looked to be hav­ing one of those days un­til his ter­rific strike broke the dead­lock on 51 min­utes. He added a sec­ond — his eighth of the sea­son — with a close-range header when he was left un­marked. ‘It’s a great win and takes us into the top four for the first time this sea­son,’ said Barr. ‘It’s bril­liant — that’s four wins on the bounce, we’re play­ing well and the con­fi­dence is high. And now we are look­ing for­ward to Fri­day and the derby with St Mir­ren.’ The cry­ing shame for Mor­ton is the crowds, with less than 2,000 at Cap­pielow on Satur­day. How­ever, Fri­day night’s derby with St Mir­ren in Pais­ley should hold more ap­peal for Mor­ton fans. ‘That’s mas­sive for us,’ ad­mit­ted Barr. ‘It showed in the first game down here against them that there was a good at­mos­phere. We were un­lucky not to win the game.’ Queens boss James Fowler ad­mit­ted his team were up against it from the start. They were for­tu­nate to lose just two goals. He said: ‘We knew it was go­ing to be a tough game. We are dis­ap­pointed with the goals we con­ceded.’

 ??  ?? On the rise: Barr (right) with two-goal John­stone
On the rise: Barr (right) with two-goal John­stone
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