All eyes on Rangers as Toon push for play-offs

The Blue Toon marched towards the play-offs over the weekend with a goalless draw to second-placed Queens Park, Peterhead finding themselves in a far from comfortable third place ahead of their hosting of Rangers this Sunday.

Sharing the points tally of 29 with Montrose, and 20 points behind Rangers, the Blue Toon’s next sequence of games could be the deciding factor between making the play-offs and spending another season in the Third Division, something Jim McInally will be looking to avoid, having been resigned to spending this campaign in Scottish football’s fourth tier following a run of poor results in the opening months of last season.

Two games without win or goal, however, will not have the visiting Ibrox side quaking in their boots, something McInally admits he is not overly concerned about, his side proving capable of finding the back of the net.

Speaking to the Buchan Observer, the former Celtic man said: “We’ve been on a hard run, playing all the teams at the top.

“I just think we’ve been a wee bit off the boil up front,” commenting that the Montrose game, a fixture which Peterhead lost 1-0, was the only game he felt the Blue Toon looked unlikely to score in.

Recently, in an effort to combat this problem, the boss has rotated his attacking options to keep his side fresh.

“I think if you look at our goals against, we’re one of the best in the league. We’ve got a terrific goalkeeper,” he said.

“We’ve conceded six at home all season, the same as Rangers. There’s a lot of positives there.”

On their most recent clean sheet, the boss added: “Queen’s Park are a good side. It was a good point of Saturday.”

But all eyes will, inevitably, be on the arrival of Rangers to the Blue Toon for the second time this season, the high-fliers returning to Peterhead with a goal difference of 39 – 30 more than their nearest rival in the Third Division.

McInally, however, is keeping cool on the task at hand, saying: “Rangers are the least of our worries. We don’t need to lift anybody for that – it takes care of itself,” adding that it would be “great” if his side could put in the same inspired performance which saw the Blue Toon held by Rangers in a nervy draw at the start of the season.

But McInally is after consistency from his part-time side in the long-term, telling the Buchan Observer that he thought the fight for play-off places was likely to go all the way.

Meanwhile, chairman Rodger Morrison, who spoke to the Buchan Observer last week about the game, has hinted that the Rangers fixture has lost none of its appeal for Blue Toon fans.

“Once again demand for tickets and our range of hospitality packages including the marquee has been very strong indeed,” he said.

“The marquee will, of course, feature the large screen TV for guests, and we are gearing ourselves up for another great afternoon’s excitement on the 20th.

“I would urge anyone still without a ticket to get down to the club quickly to avoid any disappointment.”

He added: “The season opener really was a magnificent affair for everyone - both the club and the fans - and we hope that will be repeated.”

The chairman also warned that there would be no parking at the Balmoor, encouraging fans to come early.

He said: “Although the match kicks off at 12noon we would advise fans to get into the ground as early as possible to ensure we have no delays getting everyone in for kick-off.”

Sponsoring the match are Enterprise Engineering Services, with match ball sponsor Northern Platforms and marquee sponsor James Jamieson Construction.