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Jamie Durent: Peterhead caught in a difficult and challenging situation

Peterhead manager Jim McInally
Peterhead manager Jim McInally.

Peterhead’s 1-0 win over Falkirk on Saturday provided some much-needed light after a gloomy period at Balmoor.

Their complete absence of form since the turn of the year had seen them drop into relegation trouble at the bottom of League One.

Bar the games they’ve had against Cove Rangers in Aberdeen, the margins have been fine. But Peterhead continually found themselves coming out on the wrong side of them.

The fact their performances have been decent will have made it even more galling to not be taking anything from these games. But ultimately at this stage of the season, every point is a prisoner.

Prior to the weekend’s game against Falkirk, Blue Toon captain Scott Brown gave an impassioned plea to the club and his team-mates to dig themselves out of trouble.

He is right to point out that while they can take praise for the way the football they play, it matters little if they are still getting beat at the end of 90 minutes.

Peterhead captain Scott Brown takes aim
Peterhead captain Scott Brown takes aim

It was pleasing to finally see a good performance and three points align in the north-east on Saturday. Jack Brown scored his first goal for the club in a deserved win over a totally out-of-sorts Falkirk.

Ironically it was the same opponent towards the end of last season who the Blue Toon beat to give them a vital step towards staying in League One.

You can see the pledge to go with youth coming to the fore with the likes of Grant Savoury, who has been a real find for manager Jim McInally, David Wilson, Brown and Owen Cairns.

They have experienced a fair amount of adversity in their young Peterhead careers and who knows, they may emerge better for it.

But it has been difficult to dress up mere survival as a positive thing to supporters or even players at the club. It hasn’t been easy to find progress in seeing your team narrowly beaten each week.

McInally has tried to be an ever-present optimist in this situation. He feels perspective is important in the situation Peterhead find themselves in but it should not be mistaken for complacency. The sting of defeat still resonates each week.

He has tried to shield the players from the negativity of a relegation struggle and continually encourages them to go out and play in the manner they have been.

Were he dealing with a squad of more experienced players then he could perhaps dole out more direct criticism, however he cannot afford some of the younger players to go into their shells right at the point where he needs them to get results.

The victory over Falkirk sees them take a big stride towards survival. My colleague Paul Third said on last week’s episode of Northern Goal that the Blue Toon’s level is perhaps lower-end of League One, top end of League Two. Maybe they are at their level.

But there is no reason for the staff and players to accept that and I don’t think they will. If they believe they are good enough to break into the top half and challenge for the play-off places, there’s no reason to discourage that kind of optimism.

Hopefully Peterhead grab enough points in the remaining five games to ensure they can build towards that goal next season.

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