Shane Sutherland insists he was not seeking a move away from Elgin City and Peterhead’s ambition swayed him into returning to Balmoor.
Sutherland signed for a second spell at Peterhead yesterday, with the two League 2 clubs agreeing a nominal fee to see the 27-year-old move immediately after agreeing a pre-contract.
He was told by Elgin the move could happen earlier than the summer and Peterhead were willing to pay the asking price, believed to be between £3,000 and £4,000.
The chance to move on first came last year when Elgin accepted an offer from Stirling Albion, however the two parties were unable to agree terms. Peterhead were also interested then, as well as Highland League champions Cove Rangers.
Talks over a new contract at Borough Briggs broke down and Sutherland felt he had to take matters into his own hands, rather than waiting until the summer to see if offers materialised.
He said: “Everyone knows Peterhead are an ambitious club. At the start of the season, I thought anyone that finished above them would win the league. I’m joining a club whose ambitions are a bit higher than the one I was at.
“The permanent move was a bit unexpected. We’d obviously agreed a pre-contract as myself and Elgin were a bit away from agreeing a deal. It was within a couple of hours that I found out it could happen in the next couple of days.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to move on but Elgin let me know there was nothing more they could do for me in terms of a new contract. I had to get something sorted as if I waited until the summer, I could have been left with nothing. I needed to look after myself first and foremost.
“There was a bit of sour grapes after I left last time but I feel I’ve left on good terms. I didn’t want to leave and didn’t go looking for it. I was getting my head down and looking forward to the rest of the season. But Elgin wanted to cash in now rather than lose me for free and that left me with a decision to make.”
Sutherland played the 2015-16 season at Balmoor, netting 13 goals in 35 games, before returning for his third spell with Elgin.
Given all the uncertainty over his future at the start of the campaign, he is pleased with a return of 11 goals in 20 games so far.
He added: “I spoke to Stirling Albion and it wasn’t the best move for me. I wasn’t seeking a move but the club put a price on my head – it didn’t sit well with me. But I was happy to continue playing for Elgin. There’s nothing I can do about it if teams didn’t meet their valuation.”
The ex-Caley Thistle youngster is relishing the chance of a fresh start and despite 70 goals since the SPFL came into formation in 2013, knows he will have to force his way into the Blue Toon side.
Sutherland said: “I’ve got to work hard and show what I’m about. They have Rory McAllister, Russell McLean, Ryan Dow and Derek Lyle – four quality strikers and I’m not going to walk into the team. There’s players there chomping at the bit to play.”