Peterhead chairman Rodger Morrison reckons the club are seeing a “revitalised” Jim McInally as he celebrates 10 years in charge.
The Blue Toon chief has got to know McInally personally away from football and feels a change of lifestyle off the pitch has reinvigorated him.
McInally offered to resign as manager in 2018 but after discussions with Morrison, stayed on and helped lead the club back into League One.
In the last couple of years, the Peterhead boss has taken on a job working for a pharmacy in Dundee, which Morrison reckons has given him a new focus.
Morrison said: “He took a bit of persuading to say, because he’s realistic. He knows for the last while he’s taken a bit of flak from fans and if it got really serious, Jim would be the first to say ‘I’m going’.
“I’ve never felt like that. Any employee can be brilliant one year and not so good the next. Jim maybe thought it was getting a bit stale but with the pandemic coming, I persuaded him to get some employment down in Broughty Ferry, to give him a bigger impetus to get up in the morning other than football.
“That’s worked really well. I’ve never seen him so revitalised. I should have done it a long time ago!
“It gives him another focus – he’s a very caring guy. It’s really good for him to get away from football. Driving up and down the road to Peterhead is tiring but I’ve never seen him the way he is this season.”
Morrison hired McInally in 2011 and joked that given his own track record, he had no expectation the tenure would last 10 years.
“It’s been 10 enjoyable years,” he said. “He’s an easy guy to work with. He’s never demanding, he just gets on with it. It’s turned into a real friendship over the years and I’ve always rated him as a manager.
“I’ve been in business for 50 years and I’ve still got staff I’ve worked with for that period of time. I’m a great believer in loyalty and we’ll all go through good and bad times.
“You’ve got to put things in perspective. When Elgin came up with ourselves they were always the bigger club and I thought we would be hanging on to their coat-tails.
“But they haven’t got out of the division and we’ve won it, albeit came down afterwards, but got back up again. You then look at Brechin and I remember in the early days we never seemed to beat them. Now they’re back in the Highland League.”