Mark Peat is back in love with football at Bo’ness United as the Super League side remain in the hunt for a league and Scottish Junior Cup double.
The experienced goalkeeper claims he has never been happier following a period out of the game which left him questioning whether he would ever return.
He said: “I absolutely love it at Bo’ness. It’s the first time in a couple of years that I’ve actually enjoyed playing football again. We’ve got a great bunch of boys here. The manager Alan McGonigal and Stevie Kerrigan, the assistant manager have been brilliant. I can’t speak highly enough of the club.”
Peat, 32, began his career as youth player at Aberdeen and made one first team appearance in a 3-2 defeat to Hearts at Pittodrie in 2002. He gave up football for six months back in 2011 after becoming disillusioned with injury during his time at Berwick Rangers.
The keeper then joined West Super League side Beith Juniors, before going back to senior football with Stirling Albion, where he was part of the side which handed Rangers their first Third Division defeat in 2012.
It is at Bo’ness though that Peat has regained his love for the game, and with the club just three points behind Super League leaders Newtongrange Star, with three games in hand, they are being tipped by many to secure the league title. Peat believes the experience within the squad can aid them in their quest for the double.
He said: “The dressing room is full of guys with experience at playing at a good level. We have guys who have won league titles and junior cups before. We can’t think too far ahead though, we are just taking each game as it comes.
“We’ve got guys who are used to success and that helps a lot. You’ve got to have a hunger for success and we have that.”
Bo’ness face a St Andrews side at Newtown Park on Saturday who are fighting for their lives at the opposite end of the table. They sit second bottom, but come into the match in good form having secured impressive back-to-back wins against Linlithgow Rose and Newtongrange Star last weekend. Peat is under no illusions to the test his side face, sighting his surprise at the position their opponents find themselves in at the foot of the table.
He said: “I’m very surprised at the league position that St Andrews are in. They have good quality in their team, and both games against them this season have been tough.
“They score a lot goals, so they’ll be a threat. Their confidence will be sky high as they’ve taken two big scalps in their last two matches and will be going for a third. It’s up to us to step up to the plate and make sure it doesn’t happen.”
Bo’ness manager Allan McGonigal is hoping to have several players back available this week, after he was only able to name two substitutes in their 2-1 win away to Carnoustie Panmure last Saturday.
With games coming thick and fast for Bo’ness as they compete on four fronts, with their participation in the Fife and Lothians Cup and East of Scotland Cup added to their involvement in the Super League and Junior Cup, McGonigal is worried the amount of matches could take it’s toll on his squad, insisting he doesn’t believe his squad is big enough to cope.
He said: “I don’t think we have enough players to win the league in terms of the games we have left in all competitions, something will have to give. It’s going to be a big, big ask for these boys.
“Two weeks ago, in my opinion, if Newtongrange continued to win they would’ve ran out of sight because it would’ve put too much pressure on us. At the moment that’s not been the case as they’ve lost a couple of games back-to-back, so it certainly makes the top of the table tighter.
“This week we are focusing on a team who will be full of confidence after two great results against two top Super League sides. We will treat them with the same respect as we would any team.”
McGonigal hopes to send out a full squad tomorrow with club captain Chris Donnelly nearing full fitness after time out with a hip injury, while Stewart Devine, Ross Campbell and Scott Gibb could return.