Russell McLean back at Peterhead for second spell

Peterhead boss Jim McInally says that he is delighted to once again have Russell McLean at the club – and admitted he never wanted him to leave in the first place.

Sunday, 4th July 2021, 4:31 pm

The Blue Toon have secured the services of the 23-year-old hitman ahead of Saturday’s Premier Sports Cup group stage opener with Hearts, one of McLean’s former clubs.

McLean first joined Peterhead in the summer of 2017 after spells at Alloa Athletic, Hearts and East Kilbride and was regular scorer with 23 goals in his 75 appearances.

However he opted to move to Montrose in search of regular football in the 2019 January transfer window after finding it difficult to dislodge the first-choice strike pairing of Rory McAllister and Derek Lyle.

McLean hit 13 goals in 51 appearances for the Angus side, but is now back at Balmoor and eager to pick up the challenge of being McInally’s main goal threat in the coming campaign.

McInally told the club website: “I have always been a fan of Russell. I did not want him to leave a few years ago; however he wanted to start games and I could not promise him that.

"We had discussions over the summer and it became apparent that he would come back to the club and ever since then I have been working on making it happen.

“I am excited to see him playing for us again and when you consider the players he has supporting him now in attack and midfield we are a side that should score goals and Russell should get more than his fair share.”

McInally is also pleased to have his striking options boosted by another returning forward.

Niah Payne impressed during a loan spell at Peterhead last season, but personal circumstances put a return this season in doubt.

But McInally decided to give the 22-year-old more time to consider his options, and is delighted that patience has paid off.

He said: “I believe that re-signing Niah will be significant for Peterhead. He was showing his potential towards the end of last season and he looks sharp in training as well. He wanted to come back to Peterhead and whilst discussions have taken a bit of time he is back.

“He has a young family in Yorkshire but has come up with a way to play for us and keep family life good for him.”