Peterhead FC: Blue Toon nearly at fighting weight

Saturday not only saw a convincing victory and first clean sheet at Balmoor for Peterhead, but also the return of defender Ryan Strachan.

The 23-year-old former Celtic and Aberdeen man has been sidelined for more than 17 weeks with a niggling ankle injury sustained in training, but is now back in McInally’s plans.

The Blue Toon have also been buoyed by news that a metatarsal injury picked up by David Cox last month is healing well.

Strachan said: “I’m nearly 100% but I’m obviously lacking in match fitness.

“The more game time I can get the better it is for everybody.

“It’s been a stop start to the season. Like the manager’s been telling everyone, if other teams had the same number of injuries and suspensions we’ve had, especially because the injuries haven’t just been one or two weeks, they’d have done well to cope with what we’ve had.

“I don’t want to rush back and I’m sure the manager knows I’m not 100% but hopefully i can get some more game time.”

Strachan played half an hour alongside fellow returnee Scott Ross as a replacement in a defence seen as first choice by McInally.

The Peterhead manager said: “Ryan’s general fitness has been pretty good in training and at least we’ve got half an hour under his belt now.

“He’s going to slot in there, hes’ a good reader of the game.

“That’s the picture I see, with Ryan playing there with the other two quicker boys in front of him.”

Last month Peterhead were so short at the back that McInally drafted in coach and former player Craig Tully as an emergency centre back.

Initially seen as a stop-gap, Tully’s stalwart performances have put him firmly in the plans of the Toon boss.

Though 19-year-old Falkirk loanee Ryan McGeever has gone, new addition Reece Donaldson has impressed.

Now Cox and Callum MacDonald, who has not featured this season, are the only long-term absentees.