JOHN McCORMACK

John "Cowboy" McCormack was appointed head coach at Queen's Park on 15th June 1998, and became the first full time coach in the club's history.

As a player Cowboy had been at Clydebank, St Mirren, Dundee, Airdrieonians and Partick Thistle in a career which spanned 12 years from 1976 to 1988. 

After a spell working for Glasgow City Council, he worked as a youth coach at Dundee before progressing to Assistant Manager at Dens Park, taking over in 1997 following Jim Duffy's dismissal. However, he was infamously sacked in February 1998 with his side five points clear at the top of the First Division and seemingly heading for the Premier League.   

When Cowboy arrived at Hampden there had been a vacuum at the top after Graeme Elder stepped down at the end of the 1997/98 season, as the anticipated appointment of Ian Munro fell through. Cowboy was left with only a handful of players and only a few weeks to cobble a team together.

With so little preparation it was unrealistic to look for great things in 98/99, and a finish in the bottom half of the table followed. However, there was evidence of a team spirit building, especially when eventual champions Ross County visited Hampden.

They were one up, and extended their lead with an outrageously offside goal. Instead of the heads going down as they may have done in the past, the team rolled their sleeves up and stuck four past Nicky Walker in a great 20 minute spell.

That season also gave us our first run in the Scottish Cup for a few years, after beating Berwick in the first round at Lesser by two goals, then beating Clachnacuddin in a replay at Inverness with two goals in the last five minutes to win 3-2. We then took Dundee United to a replay at Tannandice, where a single goal by Billy Dodds was all that seperated the two teams.

Two players who were to become instrumental to the team joined during the season, Paul Martin right at the start, and in March 1999 Jonny Whelan arrived in Glasgow from TNS and was signed by Cowboy.

At the start of the 1999/2000 season they were joined by Neil Inglis, Neil MacFarlane, Graeme Connell and Mark Gallagher and, as they say, the rest is history.

A 14 match unbeaten run at the start of the season saw us establish a 10 point lead at the top, but a poor run around Christmas saw us pegged back, then two defeats in March almost put us out of the race, but then five straight wins in the last five games, culminated in a glorious day at Cowdenbeath (you don't hear that very often) that saw us lift the championship. 

The momentum continued into the following season, and four wins from the off had us top of the table, where we stayed almost continuously until the end of October. 

However, the results became harder to come by, and with the departure of Graeme Connell to rivals Queen of the South in December 2000 we lost a vital part of our team.

Our fate was sealed on the last day of the season, when, despite beating Queen of the South, we were still relegated.

If that had been bad enough, the return to the third division was even harder, and it took 13 games to record our first victory. Although we had the fun of gubbing East Fife twice on their own patch, we required a victory on the last day of the season at Dumbarton to avoid finishing bottom of the pile for the first time in our history. 

With the game poised at 1-1 in the last minute, Queen's were awarded a penalty. Jonny Whelan, who scored earlier for Queen's with another penalty, took this was as well, but could only watch as it was saved by the Dumbarton keeper.

The start of Cowboy's last season was similarly disappointing in the league, but there was a great run to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup. A win over Gretna in the first round set up a trip to Forfar, and 120 minutes later, with four goals and four red cards the sides could not be separated. 

All the first ten penalties were converted, but Tony Mitchell pulled off a great save with the first of the sudden death penalties, then Willie Martin smashed home the winner.

Down to Berwick to see our old friends in the next round, and after they failed to show us their medals they were dispatched with goals from Jimmy Allan and Jonny Whelan. 

In the semi-final, our first since 1928, we were edged out by Brechin City by the odd goal in seven. Our league form had been starting to pick up just before Cowboy left, and three draws were followed by a 4-0 win at East Stirling in his final game in charge. Cowboy left to go Morton, whom he went on to guide to the Third Division championship. 

After a spell as Assistant Manager at Stenhousemuir he returned to the managerial hot seat at Bellshill in the Juniors, and returned to the senior game as Manager at Albion Rovers, before an ill-fated move as Assistant Manager at Hamilton Accies in July 2008 which ended with Cowboy winning an industrial tribunal case against the club following his dismissal after a couple of months at Hamilton. 

A spell as assistant to John Brown at Clyde followed, before Cowboy took over the reins at Broadwood, but that was a short-lived appointment as well, finishing after six months in April 2010 as Clyde headed for the Third Division. 

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