Peterhead midfielder Simon Ferry admits playing through his back problem has become a “lottery” and he is not as fit as he would like to be.
Ferry has often come off early in most of his recent appearances for the Blue Toon and feels embarrassed to have to do so.
After not playing a lot of football of late – Ferry had not played 90 minutes since the 4-2 win over Alloa in October – he managed all 120 minutes of the Scottish Cup triumph over East Kilbride on Saturday.
Peterhead boss Jim McInally said last month the club would do the best they could to get him over his fitness concerns.
He took a knock to the back in the first-half of the draw with East Fife and it flared up again in the draw against Clyde. Prior to this, Ferry had struggled with a hamstring issue.
Ferry said: “It’s embarrassing if anything – one thing you don’t want is to be coming off before half-time. But, when it’s your back, it’s kind of a lottery how it’s going to be in the game.
“Last week I got a knock on it quite early doors. I went to pick the ball up and a sharp pain came. When that happens, it can be quite hard to get through it.
“On Saturday, I didn’t really have a situation like that, so it was fine. It’s just a lottery, giving it a bash and seeing how it is.
“I’m not really as fit as I want to be as I can’t train at the level I like to. I’ll go for a run most days, but with my back being the way it is, it’s more working on the bike and the cross-trainer and you can’t really get the intensity you usually get with your runs.
“It’s been tough, but I’ll try get through it as best I can.”
Ferry played in an unfamiliar centre-back role in a back three on Saturday, but it was one he enjoyed.
Ferry added: “Jim needed somebody to go and play (centre-back) and it was a big game for the club financially to get into the next round of the cup.
“We got a few injuries during the week and I just said I’d give it a bash. I came off quite early last week when I felt my back, but I felt better this week and thankfully got through it.
“I’m at that stage now where I’ll just go out and play (anywhere) and do my best for the boys. I quite enjoyed playing next to Andy (McDonald) and Jason (Brown) – I think we only conceded two shots on goal, which were the two goals.
“Our shape was decent. It’s easy for the boys to think that because the crowd’s telling them to put the ball in the box to do that, but I think what we’re good at is keeping the ball and waiting for the right opportunity to arise.
“The second half wasn’t good enough for the possession we had. We didn’t use the ball well enough; there was too much of a slackness on the ball when we got into good areas. We lose the ball and they get the chance to turn us.”
Peterhead are in the last 16 of the Scottish Cup for the first time under Jim McInally, earning a home tie against Dundee next month.
Ferry added: “It’s brilliant for the club. We’ve been decent in the League Cup and missed out on going through on goal difference or a point.
“This club is really good to the boys and I’ve got a lot of time for the people here, the way they look after you. If anyone deserves a last-16 tie, it’s the guys behind-the-scenes here.”