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Peterhead boss Jim McInally tries to retain perspective amid Blue Toon struggles in League One

Peterhead manager Jim McInally, left
Peterhead manager Jim McInally, left.

Jim McInally’s positive outlook does not mean he is blind to the precarious situation Peterhead find themselves in.

Four defeats on the bounce and one win in 12 has seen Peterhead dragged back into a relegation scrap they, at one stage, looked like avoiding.

He has been careful to rein in the criticism of his young squad, given he needs them to go out and get results. Dumbarton and East Fife are snapping at their heels and looking to reel them in at the foot of League One.

But it does not mean he does not care, nor does he not feel the disappointment with each defeat. Peterhead, regardless of how well they may or may not be playing, have dipped noticeably since the turn of the year.

Their long-serving manager is trying to bring some perspective to the situation, from his job with a pharmacy in Dundee, to shield his players from the negativity.

“I don’t feel the pressure anymore. I’m enjoying the challenge because it’s a tough league,” said McInally. “We knew what we were doing when we went with a young team and there’s been a lot of good in it. We want to see it out, we don’t want to fall by the wayside. We’ll do our best to make sure that happens.

Peterhead manager Jim McInally
Peterhead manager Jim McInally

“I go to my work every day and see people that are ill. Football seems to bring out the worst in people, myself included, where there’s a lot of negativity.

“Since I’ve worked in this job and I’ve seen every day how people suffer – I just think ‘it’s a game of football, what’s the worst that can happen to you’.

“With every defeat, it doesn’t get easier. You still hate losing with a passion. But I’ve got a wee bit older and wiser and it’s not life or death anymore.

“That doesn’t mean to say you don’t want to win with a passion. There’s just things going on in life that are a wee bit more important. That’s why I want the boys to go out and embrace it.”

Peterhead players had shown ambition both before and during the season, believing they could reach the promotion play-offs. There was nothing wrong with that.

But for McInally and those in the club heirarchy the bar was set a little lower, given the more youthful approach they were taking this season.

“The aim for us was to stay up and I said that from the start. I know some of the players have said we should be aiming for the play-offs but we’re still a wee bit wet behind the ears and, in my opinion, we weren’t ready for that,” he said.

“You want to bring perspective to it and take away the negativity and abuse that comes with it. That’s what I try protect the players from a wee bit.

Grant Savoury celebrates with Peterhead team-mate Owen Cairns
Peterhead have gone with a more youthful squad this season

“It’s there for every team that’s fighting relegation. There’s no way it’s not happening at Dumbarton, or at East Fife. It happens everywhere.

“We’re not daft. We know we need to be picking up points. It comes down to who has the bottle to go out and play.”

Peterhead head to Falkirk today in need of a result. They are two points clear of Dumbarton in ninth spot, with East Fife a further three behind.

“We played Falkirk quite recently and did well against them. We should have won it,” added McInally.

“You can only keep trying to play. A lot of our games are fine margins and we just need to hope they start going our way.

Peterhead manager Jim McInally
Peterhead manager Jim McInally

“That’s not to say you have a losing run and you’re unlucky all the time. There is a weakness there, from being naive or a wee bit soft.

“We’ll not feel sorry for ourselves. There’s six games to go and I think we were in this position last year, with six games to go, and we just got on with it.

“We’re playing a team on Saturday that are chasing the play-offs. They’re hungry, we’re hungry. It should be a decent day.”

Peterhead will be without Andy McCarthy (suspension), Ryan Duncan (international duty) and Russell McLean (knee). Hamish Ritchie is a doubt.

Peterhead captain Scott Brown lays down the gauntlet to Blue Toon in ‘life and death’ relegation battle

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