An 18-year career which has spanned from non-league football to scoring goals on a regular basis, Peter Weatherson is a striker who made an impact at every club he has played for. With just over 500 appearances and close to 150 goals to his name, we have a look back at the Englishman’s career.
Weatherson made an instant impact with the Cappielow faithful after scoring a hat-trick on his competitive debut for Morton.
“You couldn’t have written the script better. I’ve always been a loyal guy, so, although it was an easy decision to leave Queen of the South, you leave behind a lot of friends and a team who have been great for you, it is difficult, but, to start off a new chapter with a hat-trick, you couldn’t have made it up. That game kick started me that season, up until Christmas time. I had a flying start – I can’t remember the exact number but I think it was 15 goals I had scored. Then I got injured – the club kind of went down a little bit, we didn’t progress the way we wanted to and the season petered out.”
After such an emphatic margin at the top of the table, the Ton’s collapse saw rumours surface, of which Weatherson was accused of being the ringleader.
“There were a lot of rumours – betting scandals, drinking…there were all sorts of rumours being thrown at us. I’m not trying to blow my own trumpet, but, at the time, I was doing really well before I got injured – I was out for about 6 / 7 weeks. After I came back from that, I just didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel the same player. I tried to carry on from where I left off but it just didn’t happen for me; I don’t think Morton as a club, or as a team, progressed from that injury. I think that was a big catalyst for it. However, I still think the outside influences, such as the rumours – all which are complete nonsense – I feel it really disrupted us. It started off as such a positive season for us yet finished so negatively.”
After such a bad season, Weatherson considered leaving the club for pastures new.
“I had such a disappointing end to that season. It was decision time; I still had 2 years on my contract, but I began doubting myself – was I welcome here?, do they want me here? – and because the season ended on such a sour note, the things which went through my head were that the club had put their neck on the line by paying money for me, I need to give them something back…I didn’t feel the goals that I scored and the performances I gave throughout that first season was enough. Deep inside me I knew I could give more and that was the reason I decided to stay – I wanted to produce the goods for them. Thankfully, the way things materialised, we eventually did.”
In the winter of 2004, Morton travelled up north to play Cove Rangers in the Scottish Cup. A 7-1 scoreline materialised with Weatherson opening the scoring – despite playing at centre back.
“The gaffer, Jim McInally, said “Go on Pedro, on you go and have a crack at it”. I was comfortable with it – it maybe took me 20 minutes to warm up and get used to the position, but, I enjoyed it. It was something Jim had confidence in me to do and I just had to try repay him,” explains the experienced striker, who also played numerous games at right back in his 10 years in Greenock. “We were bare bones, as far as personnel, and I think I was the only one he could trust, who could understand the position. I done that well, that I was actually keeping defenders on the bench. It is a compliment to him [Jim McInally] for seeing the foresight of it but I also think it is a compliment to myself.”
Incredibly, Peter scored over 15 goals from defence in one season, which is a remarkable amount considering the limited chances he would have during a match.
“Whichever club I’ve played for, it isn’t all about Peter Weatherson – it is about the club, and the club progressing. That has always been my first thought. The only position I never played for Morton was in goals – I played everywhere else. If you ask other football players, I doubt they could say that, certainly at professional level. I think it [the goals tally] was a good achievement. I think if you ask any manager in the world right now, if they’d like their full back to score 18 goals for them next season, they’d bite your hand off for that now. When you look back, I don’t think any were penalties. They were all general play – possibly a couple of free kicks in there. If I was quicker, in terms of pace, I honestly think I would have played there for the rest of my career. As I got older, especially once we had got promoted up a division, teams put their quick players against me and that stumped us a little bit. That is when they decided to put me back up front again.”
In the 10 years Peter was at Cappielow, he scored his 100th career goal.
“I think it was a free kick – because it was a milestone, people around the club were talking about it. When you play the game, though, it goes out your head. It is always good, if you can be at a club and leave something behind, such as a milestone, that is great as then in the future, people such as my kids, can say this is what my dad has done.”
Just a few weeks later, Weatherson was on the score sheet again, scoring 4 in a resounding 9-1 victory against Forfar.
“That was probably the most complete performance I’ve ever seen. It could have been 29-1, there was so much domination. I was playing centre midfield that day and scoring 4, just breaking from midfield, was probably one of my best performances as well, to be honest. I don’t say that just because of the goals, I think everything about that day just clicked into gear: we were a real force.”
For four of Weatherson’s first seven seasons at Cappielow, he finished top goalscorer. He is also the 4th highest goalscorer at the club, post-World War Two, with 93 goals for the Ton.
“That is what I have always wanted. I’ve always wanted to leave an impression wherever I have been and in the future hopefully people will remember me and talk about me – I want my kids to look back in the years to come and see that I did well and was successful. However, I couldn’t do that all myself: there have been a number of top players that I have played with at Morton – a number of them are still playing at really good levels. It has been a pleasure to play with all of them. In all squads, you get top players and you get unsung heroes as well – there has been a lot of them too and they’ve helped the team progress and flourish.”
During his time at Morton, Partick Thistle did once again try and gain his services, however, Peter decided to sign a 2-year contract extension. He left the club for the final time in 2013, joining Annan, but not before he got a well-deserved testimonial.
“At that point [when there was interest from Partick], I thought, “now I have a big decision to make” because I felt as if I had done enough and I had paid the club back, with my performances and us winning the league. In my head, I was questioning if I needed a change; I went up to speak to Ian McCall [then Partick manager] – he made a good offer, but, I have never been a player who plays for money…yes I get paid, and I want as much as anyone else does, but, money would never determine a deal for me. I want to be comfortable in the fact that I will be comfortable around the management and that I will fit in – it has always been about the football. However, he did offer me a good deal,” explains Weatherson, who continues, “and I remember going back down to Morton to speak to Douglas Rae [chairman at Morton] and he was that keen to keep me, he told me “tell me what you want” and it turned into a bit of a haggling match but I didn’t want that. They showed to me they still wanted me to stay and I was still good enough for them. I went away, had a think about it and decided to stay, simply out of loyalty. I had been there 8 years, there was talks of a testimonial after that and I thought that was the way to go. I had a young daughter at that time, up in Greenock as well, so I definitely think I made the right decision. I didn’t play as much as I wanted to, so I was frustrated to be honest. I had made a lot of friends, however, who had decided to put this testimonial on. The work they did, was incredible, and I am forever indebted to them for the time they put in and their efforts. It was a fantastic job they did; we played St Johnstone – there were also other events which they organised and every single one was brilliantly attended by the local community – as I’ve said, I will forever be indebted to those at the club as well as the fans.”
The Third and Final part of this interview will be published tomorrow. Peter’s two stints at Annan, a shot of management at Shettleston and what happens next…