Ex-Celtic youth Conor O'Keefe signs on for Peterhead along with Robbie McGale

Peterhead boss Jim McInally has started rebuilding his squad by bringing in his first two new recruits of the close season.

By Ian MacLean
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 10:06 am
Former Celtic and St Mirren player Conor O'Keefe has joined Peterhead (pic: Michael Gillen)
Former Celtic and St Mirren player Conor O'Keefe has joined Peterhead (pic: Michael Gillen)

The Blue Toon gaffer has signed full-back Robbie McGale and midfielder Conor O’Keefe for next campaign.

McGale, 22, moves to Balmoor from Scottish Lowland Football League side Stirling University and has previous league experience from a loan spell with Montrose in 2021.

O’Keefe, 23, came through the Celtic youth system and played for St Mirren under-20s as well as Anna, Stranraer and Elgin City.

McInally told the Peterhead website: “Robbie came into training with us at the end of last season and played in a practice match as well at right-back.

“To be honest, he shone in that game and showed that he can motor up and down the wing from that position in the way that modern full-backs are required to.”

“We then sent Simon Ferry to watch him in a game and Simon gave us a glowing report.

“Robbie played briefly at Montrose but we are delighted that he sees Peterhead as a place where he can build a senior career for himself.

“Right-back was an awkward position for us to fill last season and Robbie should be looking to make it his own.”

McInally also reckons O’Keefe’s pace could be a major plus for Peterhead, saying: “Conor is lightning-quick.

“We have had him watched and done our homework on him. He will enjoy taking the ball to teams and help us move up the park quickly.”

One player who won’t be back at Balmoor, however, is Niah Payne as the striker turned down a new contract to return south of the border

McInally said: “Niah came up from his home-town of Leeds to join us in January 2021. However, a Covid shut-down meant that he went home for a couple of months without kicking a ball.

“He made his debut when league football resumed in March last year and since then he has gone on to become firmly established in our team. He has worked hard in every game he has played and never gave opposing defences a minute to rest.

“I am disappointed that he is not coming back but he has a young family that he has spent a lot of time apart from and I can fully understand why he is looking elsewhere.

“I hope he can get his career going again somewhere closer to home.”