Jim McInally says the former Peterhead players facing his side with Cove Rangers tomorrow have nothing to prove to him.
Five ex-Blue Toon players – Rory McAllister, Ryan Strachan, Jordon Brown, Scott Ross and Leighton McIntosh – will be back at Balmoor tomorrow in Cove colours for the first north-east derby of the season.
It’s often said that players returning to their former stomping grounds go back with something to prove to their old club.
But Buchan boss McInally insists they don’t have anything to prove to him after lengthy and successful spells with Peterhead.
McAllister joined Cove in January after eight-and-a-half years at Balmoor, Strachan departed in 2017 after eight seasons with the Blue Toon, Ross moved that same summer after a seven year stint.
Jordon Brown left in 2018 after five years with Peterhead, while McIntosh’s two-year spell came to an end a year earlier.
McInally said: “They don’t need to prove a point to me – they were all good players for us – and they’ve moved on and done really well for themselves.
“I’ve always said that Scott Ross was probably the best centre-half I had, but it got to the stage with Scott with discipline where he maybe had to move on and rethink his mindset a little bit.
“The new managers he’s worked under at Cove have probably helped with that as well and Scott’s getting a bit older, so he’s maybe wiser as well.
“Ryan Strachan is a very good footballer with great intelligence and a great football brain.
“I’ve spoken about Rory hundreds of times, he was just a great goalscorer and a talisman for us.
“Jordon maybe comes off the bench a lot, but you know when he comes on he can always score a goal and he’s a big threat.
“Leighton as well has pace and power and did well for us, we’re well aware of their qualities.
“I didn’t really want any of them to leave, but sometimes circumstances at the time mean you think it’s the best thing for both parties.
“I’m glad they’ve done well, because they had a lot of good times at Peterhead and they’ve just carried it on at Cove.”
This is Cove’s debut season in League One after successive promotions in each of the last two campaigns.
McInally has been impressed with Aberdeen side’s ascent from the Highland League to Scotland’s third tier.
The only recent meeting of the sides was in last season’s League Cup group stage with Peterhead winning 2-1.
McInally added: “Cove are just serial winners who are used to winning. We’re one of the few teams that’s beat them in the last year-and-a-half.
“Don’t get me wrong I know they were missing some players that day, but they’re a good team with a good manager.
“We know we’ll need to play well to beat them, but if we do play well we know we can beat them.”
Peterhead are without Simon Ferry and Ben Armour (both hamstring), Josh Mulligan (ankle) and Gary MacKenzie (concussion) while Gary Fraser continues to self-isolate having been a close contact of a positive Covid-19 test.