Peterhead manager Jim McInally has credited his team’s style of play to lessons learned from legendary Nottingham Forrest manager Brian Clough.
Following his team’s impressive 3-0 victory over Montrose on Saturday, McInally explained that he learnt from great managers who did not overcomplicate football.
The 49-year-old Blue Toon boss also praised Dundee United’s most successful manager, Jim McLean, with whom he reached a UEFA Cup Final.
Speaking in his office after Saturday’s game, McInally said: “I worked for two of the very best managers in Clough and McLean and they didn’t ask you to do things that you couldn’t do.”
During the Montrose match some fans whistled when Peterhead defenders Scott Ross and Reece Donaldson played the ball long from the back.
McInally continued: “You can’t play the game for them.
“At the end of the day, Scott Ross isn’t a technical player as such.
“He’s a pacy defender who’s good in the air and a good tackler. Reece is the same.
“I can rest assured that as soon as they start passing the ball about the back, fans will be crying for them to get it forward.
“I’ve been a manager at Greenock Morton where there’s been two or three thousand fans and I’ve seen players getting intimidated.
“But that’s football supporters for you.”
For 18 years as Nottingham Forrest manager Clough, considered one of the greatest ever British football managers, drilled his charges to do what they could well and forget trying to do what they could not.
It is a philosophy that McInally has paid heed to.
Now working with some of League 2’s finest talent, he continues to stress that skill and confidence matter more than formations and systems.
“I understand supporters’ frustrations but if they passed it about the back and got caught out people would be crying for them to get it up.
“That’s something I really understand because I’m a football supporter and I have that mentality but guys at the back won’t take chances unless they’re winning.
“The supporters - all of us really - would like to see a certain style but you can’t ask people to play a brand of football that they’re maybe not capable of.
“I always just tell them to look for the best pass.”
That wisdom of a past generation is now paying off, albeit at a lower level.
Peterhead have scored eight goals without reply in their past two games and sit top of the table.