Any polls taken on the player of the season so far at Peterhead are likely to include goalkeeper Brett Long right near the top.
Time and again this season the Blue Toon have been able to count on the in-form stopper, none more so than Saturday when a string of top saves kept Falkirk at bay.
The goal-less draw was preserved chiefly by Long, who denied Declan McDaid, Aidan Nesbitt and Michael Ruth from breaching the Peterhead defence.
Since his arrival from East Fife in the summer he has won the battle of the Balmoor goalkeepers, keeping good friend Lenny Wilson on the bench for now.
“He’s doing really well – his shot-stopping particular is really good,” said manager Jim McInally. “We’re encouraging to be braver with crosses.
“He’s been good and he’s built up a rapport with Lenny (Wilson). They push each other and even Lenny said to me he doesn’t blame me for picking Brett.”
It was not a game which will be remembered for expansive, free-flowing football, owing mainly to the high winds in the north-east, but Peterhead were able to hold their own.
Two first-half injuries saw Simon Ferry and Niah Payne replaced, while midfielder Andy McCarthy was removed early in the second half to avoid picking up a second booking.
88’ IT’S THAT MAN AGAIN BRETT LONG WITH A WONDERSAVE!!! Ruth volleys a corner towards goal and Long pulls out an unbelievable save!!!
(0-0) #BlueToon 🔵⚪️💙
— Peterhead FC (@pfcofficial) October 23, 2021
McInally added: “We ended up with a team on the park that was a team of young boys. It was pretty bizarre to be honest.
“Grant (Savoury) came in on in the first half, Lyall (Cameron) hadn’t played for a while and they weren’t where they could be legs-wise. I had to take Andy McCarthy off before he got sent off and with things going wrong, I thought we dealt with it.
“We’d been working on different shapes and you could tell 20 minutes into the second half, it was a day for closing ranks a wee bit.”
McInally was able to count on another influential performance from teenager Josh Mulligan.
The Dundee loanee has made himself an indispensable part of the Peterhead side since returning for a second loan spell at the League One club this season.
He has featured mainly at right-back but has also been called upon at centre-half and in midfield, with Mulligan finishing Saturday’s game as a right winger.
If he continues on his current form, then once he return to Dens Park in the summer he should be in a great position to push on for a first-team place.
McInally said: “Considering it wasn’t a game where everything went in his favour today – defensively he’s learning and if he can crack that, he’s going to be some player.
“I’m pretty sure he’ll be knocking on the door when he goes back. I think he’s a modern-day right-back; if he was a full-back for Celtic or Rangers he would just bomb on every time but at Dundee it’s a bit tougher and you might get exposed defensively.
“He’s got such an engine in him and has great pace and strength. If he learns how to be a better defender there’ll be no stopping him.”
Peterhead lost Ferry after just 15 minutes, which required an immediate re-shuffle with winger Grant Savoury coming on.
Payne got injured shortly after but was able to continue until half-time, after a nasty-looking roll of his ankle in his own penalty area.
McInally said: “Simon’s hamstring tightened up, so we’re hoping that’ll be OK. Niah’s was a horrible-looking one at the time, because a massive mound of turf came up. It looks like he’s damaged the ligaments in his ankle.”