Paddy Boyle reckons it would be a massive achievement for Peterhead to qualify for the Betfred Cup knockout stages – as it is geared against part-time teams succeeding.
Victory against Raith Rovers tonight at Stark’s Park would give Peterhead nine points from their four games and give them a great chance of qualifying from the group.
They had a similar achievement when the groups first came in back in 2016, topping a group that also included Saturday’s opponents Dundee, but success stories for part-time teams have been few and far between since then. Forfar and Arbroath both have six points with two games to play in their respective groups in the north section, which could potentially mean three part-time clubs making to the last 16.
Boyle said: “We do enjoy the group stages but there is a feeling it’s hard on the part-time teams. Is there an element of trying to get rid of the part-time teams early on? That’s my opinion and I stand by it, to make sure the bigger teams go through.
“It would be a massive achievement, considering we’ve come through League 2 last year and the teams we’ve had to face. Hopefully if we do go through, then we get a big draw.
“To an extent, it’s a free hit. Getting the point on Saturday means there’s a wee bit of pressure on you, as you’ve got a sniff of going through. You go there with a bit of expectancy now. We’ll go there and try win the game. If we can win it and get nine points, hopefully it’ll be enough.”
Alloa are the only other part-time team to make it to the knockout phase, doing so alongside Peterhead in 2016. The Blue Toon were eliminated a year later with nine points in the group stages – one more than they previously qualified with.
Boyle added: “Playing Cove on the opening day, we knew it was a massive game as if we went and won it, it would take the pressure off. But we wanted to win these games. Six points after three games, with the chance to go to Raith Rovers and get nine points gives us the chance to go through. If it’s not enough then so be it, it sets us up well for the season.
“We weren’t great last year in the group stages. We’ve had a good pre-season this year and got boys in early. Beating Cove gave us that belief and dangled that carrot; if we beat Inverness we’ve got a sniff of going through.”