300 not out as Toon honour milestone man Graeme Sharp

PETERHEAD SQUAD 2013-2014'(DUNCAN BROWN)''GRAEME SHARP

PETERHEAD SQUAD 2013-2014'(DUNCAN BROWN)''GRAEME SHARP

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Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Montrose may be a result to forget for Peterhead but full back Graeme Sharp will always remember it as the day he made his 300th appearance in Toon blue.

The 29-year-old was given the honour of wearing the captain’s armband for the day and, although disappointed he was unable to lead his team to victory, remains as excited as he ever has been to play for Peterhead.

Sharp joined the Blue Toon from Montrose in May 2005 and by a quirk of fate reached his incredible milestone back at Links Park.

He said: “That’s the only two clubs I’ve played for. I think I managed 90 appearances for Montrose before moving.

“When I first signed for Peterhead I never thought I’d be reaching the 300 mark.

“For me personally it wasn’t just a normal football game.

“The manager was kind enough to give me the captain’s armband for the day to mark my 300th appearance so that was strange.

“I was hoping for a win to cap it off but it wasn’t to be which was disappointing.”

When Sharp joined Peterhead eight years ago he was a pacy winger with an eye for goal

In the season before his move he netted five times in 15 matches, including against his current employers when Montrose lost 3-2 at Balmoor.

Now his game has evolved - when Jim McInally arrived he saw Sharp’s potential as a defender and moved him to the full back position.

Sharp said: “It was a little bit alien playing at full back to start with - players around me were talking me through the game more but it’s become like second nature to me now.

“It was the right thing to do at the time. I was struggling with my fitness trying to play on the wing and it was frustrating me.

“The manager said he wanted to move me further back where there’s less pressure to get up and down.

“I took it as a challenge and I enjoy playing there - the only disappointment is that last season was the only season when I didn’t score a goal.”

Since the change of positions Sharp, already a fan-favourite at Balmoor, has made the right back berth his own.

It is testament to Sharp’s consistency that McInally rarely has space for talented young full back Conner McGlinchey in his starting 11.

In eight years as a Blue Toon player Sharp has not just racked up an incredible appearance record, he has also amassed memories few players ever experience.

He said: “My first season we missed out in the playoff final. I remember that season scoring one of my best goals ever - I cleared a corner with a header against Stirling and I got on the end of my own header, ran the length of the ptich and scored a goal.

“That was a great memory. I probably didn’t appreciate that enough at the time - I’d be doing pretty well to run the length of the pitch with the ball nowadays.

“Last season’s the closest I’ve come to achieving those heights again. The first game of the season we drew 2-2 with Rangers.

“I know we lost a last minute goal but that was against a team with eight internationals.

“Then we beat them 2-1 at Ibrox. That’s something I’ll never forget. Not many people can say they’ve beaten Rangers at Ibrox.”

Sharp - quiet, calm and self-assured - is not one to rest on his laurels. Despite the attention he has deservedly garnered for this milestone, his focus is on Peterhead’s immediate future and the achievements that have yet to come.

“He said: “Those were two good seasons, but I’m hoping we can have some real reasons to celebrate at Peterhead before I hang up my boots.”