Finale sums up season

David Martin,Fotopress Dundee'Peterhead FC manager JIM McINALLY-Irn Bru Phenomenal 3rd Division Manager of the month for April
David Martin,Fotopress Dundee'Peterhead FC manager JIM McINALLY-Irn Bru Phenomenal 3rd Division Manager of the month for April

Promotion was always going to be a long-shot, following the Blue Toon’s lacklustre start to life in the Third Division.

A win against East Stirling on Saturday - the last game of the season - saw the club complete a turnaround - rising from the foot of the table to just missing out on slim play-off hopes by just six points.

Manager Jim McInally, who lifted the 3rd Division Manager of the Month trophy for April - will now be looking forward to another season in the league, his first season in charge of Peterhead.

Having masterminded the resurgence of form in the Blue Toon since the tailend of last year, the manager was frustrated by their final showing of the season.

Speaking on the victory to East Stirling, McInally said: “It was convincing, but frustrating.

“They’re (East Stirling) really hard to play against... they just keep going. When we scored the second goal, they should have scored about a minute after it. I thought we were sloppy, to be honest. We’ve had a multitude of chances and I don’t know how many we had cleared off the line, but, with the ball, we just didn’t do well enough again.

“I really shouldn’t complain, because, you know, to finish fifth and come as far as they’ve came, they’ve done brilliant and their efforts have been great, but I just felt it wasn’t a good enough performance.

“But it was a well deserved win.

“The other pleasing thing is it’s another clean sheet because, defensively, we’ve certainly been more solid and, you know, that’s the thing that we need to make sure - we’re stronger at the back. And, if we’re stronger at the back and we start the season better next year, things will be a lot better,” he added.

In March, East Stirling had rattled the Blue Toon’s resolve as they looked to make a late scramble for promotion, the home side knocking six past a travelling Peterhead.

McInally lamented the loss, saying that, ahead of next season, “there’s a sloppiness that creeps into our play sometimes that we need to eradicate.”

The manager added: “The result down there still irks me a wee bit, and I would have liked to pay them back with one.”

Looking forward to the next season, his first full campaign in charge of the Blue Toon, McInally cooled expectations on the team, saying: “People probably learned a lot of lessons from last season, when the expectation levels were so high,” adding that people will likely keep their feet on the ground.

“We’re kind of rebuilding the team a wee bit. If we can keep (the younger players) and build around them, and just bring in three or four guys, it’s just going to improve us.

“We’ll just need to handle whatever comes at us,” he stated.

McInally added that people had begun to take notice of the Blue Toon with the way the side finished the season, but added of the season: “It has been disappointing for a lot of people, but, for me, it’s been terrific.

“We’ve won a lot of games and it’s been good, and I’ve no complaints with the players.

“Just hopefully, as I say, we can start the season better and stay in the hunt, rather than chase.”

The manager commented that he does not expect major changes to his squad before the start of the next season, suggesting that three or four players may leave or not re-sign with the club.

As far as bringers players in, McInally said that it something that needs to be done, but was keen for “quality than quantity.”