Peterhead manager Jim McInally has no issues with Saturday’s game at East Fife kicking off at mid-day as it is just another adjustment in a season of adjustments.
The game has been moved as HRH Prince Philip’s funeral will take place at 3.00pm with McInally saying: “People in football, especially part-time football have had to be very flexible to get this season played and this is just another example of that flexibility.”
“It is not ideal and it will involve an early rise for people in various roles at the club but we will just get on with it.”
Player/ coach Simon Ferry could be one of those in line for an early start as his hamstring problem has eased however Ryan Conroy will miss out with Jim concerned over the availability of Niah Payne and Ben Armour who have both picked up hamstring issues.
Peterhead manager Jim McInally has ruled defender Ryan Conroy out of his plans for Saturday’s trip to East Fife however Simon Ferry could be involved. Both players were substituted early in Saturday’s defeat from Partick Thistle after suffering hamstring issues with the Balmoor boss optimistic that their spells on the side-lines will not be lengthy.
Jim said: “Ryan is the one that is causing me the most concern and I think he will be out for a couple of weeks. We managed to get him off before he had done too much damage to the hamstring so he should be back before the end of the season.”
“As for Simon his problem was that he tightened up during half-time and it would have been a risk to put him back out. He should be fine for East Fife but we will monitor him closely. We will also have Andrew McCarthy back at the weekend so we will be stronger.”
Peterhead went down 3-0 to visitors Partick Thistle with goals either side of half-time taking the game away from the hosts.
Manager Jim McInally made two starting changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Forfar Athletic on Tuesday night with Jordon Brown coming in for the suspended Andrew McCarthy and Niah Payne replaced Ben Armour.
The Blue Toon started brightly and won the game’s first corner on 5 minutes however the visiting defence stood firm and the danger was cleared.
Peterhead continued to press and looked set to take the lead on 13 minutes when Jordon Brown fired for goal however his effort took a deflection and whistled past a Thistle post. Ross Docherty was on the spot for the visitors to head the resultant corner away from goal.
The game began to have a more balanced feel with Docherty bringing a save out of Joshua Rae in the home goal just before the half hour mark.
Brian Graham sent a shot high over the home bar with Connor Murray denied by Rae as Thistle began to take charge and the Glasgow side grabbed the opener on 40 minutes.
Murray sent a low cross into the home box and Joe Cardle turned the ball home however Peterhead responded well to that set-back with Scott Brown going close to an equaliser before the break with a 25 yard free-kick.
Manager McInally was forced into making his second substitution at half-time with Simon Ferry joining Ryan Conroy in picking up a knock with Kieran McGrath coming on at the break to join up with Kyle Bailey who was brought on just before the half-time whistle.
A long clearance from Thistle goalkeeper Jamie Sneddon helped set up their second goal five minutes into the restart with Cardle released and his cross was perfect for Scott Tiffoney to tap in.
Just before the hour mark Rae got his fingertips onto a header from Brian Graham to prevent Thistle going further ahead however from the resultant corner the striker scored when he nodded in.
A stunned home side looked to get back into the game and Scott Brown went close with another free kick however the visitors saw the game out without too much threat on their goal with Zak Rudden going close to adding a fourth goal.
The defeat leaves Peterhead in seventh place nine points ahead of bottom side Forfar and four in front of second bottom Dumbarton with Ian McCall’s side moving up to third.
Peterhead – Rae, Freeman, Jason Brown, McDonald, Conroy (Bailey 42), Ritchie, Ferry (McGrath 46), S Brown, Jordon Brown (Armour) Payne (Lyle 66), Boyd (Kesson 72)
Manager looking for some clarity in bizarre league set in unique season
Peterhead entertain Partick Thistle at Balmoor this afternoon and a win for the Blue Toon would take them above the Maryhill side however very little further clarity over where either club’s season is heading will be known.
Jim McInally’s side sit closer in points to leaders Falkirk than they do to bottom placed Forfar however such is the congested nature of the table Peterhead sit seventh, one point and two spaces, behind their visitors.
A win for either side could be the springboard for promotion whereas a defeat would start nervous glances over shoulders towards competing to stay in League 1 once the split arrives.
Jim said: “It is a bizarre league this season but that is due to the reduced number of games. Usually leagues are tight for the first two rounds of fixtures and then they short themselves out however this season the first two rounds of fixtures is the league.”
“We can go anywhere from top four to third bottom and that is pretty unique with three games to go. It is a case of trying to win and then seeing where we are.”
A win was snatched out of Peterhead hands’ on Tuesday night at Forfar when the Loons scored a late, late goal however Jim is not predicting a hangover as he explained: “That was really unfortunate as we had the chance to make it two nil a few minutes before from the penalty spot. However we will take heart from the way we played which at times was the best we have done this season.”
“We created loads of chances and that was very pleasing. Thistle had the opposite end to their midweek game than us as they scored a late equaliser at East Fife so we cannot feel sorry for ourselves whilst they have a spring in their step.”
Jim added: “We won the first meeting with a great performance that secured a 1-0 win at Firhill. I would say that was our joint best result of the season as we also beat Dundee United at Tannadice so we know that we can compete with full-time sides. My only disappointment is that Andrew McCarthy is suspended as he has been in great form for us and he wanted to face his former club.”
“Who knows maybe he will do that in the top half split later this season.”
Peterhead Team News
Former Jag Andrew McCarthy is suspended when Peterhead host Partick Thistle with the Blue Toon also missing Gary Fraser and Alan Cook with knee injuries.
Partick Thistle Team News
Thistle manager Ian McCall will be without goalkeeper Kieran Wright, Chris Erskine and long-term absentee Tam O’Ware but welcomes back Blair Lyons after illness.
A reminder of Peterhead Chairman Rodger Morrison’s message to Partick Thistle at the start of the season –
Peterhead chairman Rodger Morrison is looking forward to welcoming Partick Thistle to Balmoor next season on League 1 duty however he still believes that Ian McCall’s side should be playing Championship football instead.
An SFA Arbitration Panel dismissed the legal challenge from Hearts and Partick Thistle over their relegation, along with Stranraer’s, on a points per game basis on Monday.
Morrison remains steadfast in his opinion that a new structure should have been brought in to avoid any club being ‘punished’ due to the impact of the Coronavirus as he explained: “Partick Thistle are a fine football club and on the football field I am looking forward to renewing our rivalry with them. Ian is a high-profile manager who knows his way around this league however I still believe that they should not be in League 1.”
“I said last month that we supported a new 14-10-10-10 approach as no club should be punished by the season ending due to the pandemic. Nothing that has happened since then has changed my mind.”
“In my opinion it was not fair to inflict greater pain on some clubs at a time when everyone was hurting. Not enough people felt the same and the relegations have been implemented.”
Morrison added: “I feel for the Directors, management and staff of Partick Thistle, and their supporters, and whilst they should not be coming to Balmoor we will make them very welcome – off the pitch that is!”