Gary Oliver revealed Ayr bad boy Luke McCowan said sorry for the horror tackle he insisted could have broken his leg.

The Queen of the South forward was left in agony on the artificial turf after McCowan’s mistimed lunge with the game running away from the visitors.

Referee Don Robertson immediately whipped out his red card with Oliver able to finish Saturday's game following treatment.

Goals from Connor Murray and Oliver secured the Robert Burns derby bragging rights for Queens who had taken the lead through Kevin Holt before Michael Moffat equalised.

And Oliver later admitted McCowan held his hands up for the X-rated challenge that came three minutes after he’d made it 3-1, as the Doonhamers celebrated a crucial fourth league win.

 

He said: “I was lucky and it could have been a lot worse. It was a terrible tackle actually.

“He caught me on my knee and it was probably a leg-breaker, probably the worst tackle I’ve been lucky with.

“The boy has said sorry and it’s football, isn’t it? You need to just move on.”

Oliver climbed off the bench in the eighth minute to replace the injured Jack Hamilton and got on the scoresheet after the break when he swept home Scott Mercer’s cutback.

He said: “It’s always a surprise when you’re getting ready to watch the game and then someone goes down but you need to be ready.

“It’s hard to come on in a game, you’re not up to match speed. It feels like everything is going at 100mph but I settled in quite well.

“I wasn’t expecting Scott to cut it back, I don’t think he saw me but it was a great wee reverse pass, I hit it and it’s taken a wee nick before going through the goalie’s legs.”

Queens have taken seven points from a possible nine at home against the top three of Dundee United, Ayr and Dundee but dodgy results elsewhere leave them seventh in the Championship.

Oliver admitted gaffer Allan Johnston reminded his players of the need for more consistent form as they basked in the glory of south-west success.

He added: “We were the better team and deserved to win.

 

“Teams always struggle coming here so that’s a wee mental edge we’ve got while the bigger clubs are under a bit more pressure to win.

“The gaffer said after the game when we play the smaller teams we’re picking up rubbish results. It’s consistency in this league. If you can go on a run you can be in that top three.”

Ayr midfielder Ross Docherty isn’t relishing the three-week break due to international call-ups and not entering the Scottish Cup until the fourth round.

The 26-year-old said: “When you have time off, it’s always easier when you’ve won your last game. You want to play again straight away when you lose.

“It’s going to be hard but we just need to get on with it.”