Winger Willie Gibson is hoping it is third time lucky in the play-offs for himself as he tries to help his Peterhead side fight back from two goals down to overcome Stenhouaemuir in the SPFL Ladbrokes League One Play-Off Final.
The former Crawley Town man joined Jim McInally’s side in the summer of 2017.
“Up until last night [Wednesday], I would have said our season has went really well. Obviously, we were all very disappointed at missing out on winning the league, especially as it was just by a point, but, overall, our season and the points total we got, was a good season. Last night’s game was frustrating, but, we have another chance to turn things around on Saturday. If we can do that, we can still achieve our goal of promotion, this campaign.
I think I am right in saying that other sides in years gone by have won League Two by a lower points total [than Peterhead’s 76], so, in another term, that might’ve been enough for us to win the league. Unfortunately, it wasn’t and credit must go to Montrose: they had a terrific season as well. What they did well was if they didn’t win a match, they made sure they didn’t lose it either. I think they picked up more draws than us and in the end that has been the difference. But, what can you do? When there is a team as consistent as Montrose, all you can do is your best and for us, it wasn’t to happen.”
The Blue Toon saw off Stirling Albion in the semi-final of the play-off.
“I can only speak for myself, but, I know the manager didn’t emphasise a lot on that [the fact that Stenhousemuir had won 3 of their 4 league meetings with Peterhead this season]. It doesn’t matter what has happened in the past, this tie is over two games and the winner will go up to League One.
We came through Stirling very comfortably, 4-0 on aggregate; they are a good side, but, the boys were all confident. We were on a good run of result, and, after our 3-0 win at Balmoor on Saturday, that made it 8 straight wins for us. We went into the first-leg confident, but, then Rory [McAllister] has missed the penalty – that would have taken us in 1-0 at half-time, and it could’ve been a different game. Stenhousemuir have the same tactics as always: they sit in a bit and try and hit you on the counter; they have pace up front with the big boy McGuigan – I know Mark very well, he is a good mate of mine and he is a handful. As has been said, in 3 of our 4 league games, Stenhousemuir have got the better of us but I honestly felt going into these matches that we just had to have forget about what has already happened and play as well as we had been going in the last few matches.”
The Warriors head up north with a two-goal advantage as Brown Ferguson’s side look to clinch an immediate return to the third-tier of Scottish football.
“We didn’t play as well as we could have done. We lost slack goals from set-pieces, so, going into Saturday, we know the mistakes we need to learn by and we know we need to go for the win; 1-0 isn’t enough so, ideally, we score early and can then really pile the pressure on. There is still belief in the dressing-room; we have a lot of guys with a lot of character. We all still believe we can turn it around, however, it was definitely disappointing last night. You always get that initial disappointment as it is never nice to lose a game of football, but, with there being more at stake than normal and then seeing the way they celebrated at the end – as if they’d already won promotion – left a bit of a sour taste: it wasn’t nice watching them celebrate the way they did. Hopefully we can be the side celebrating on Saturday.
I would say that, I would much rather have a 2-0 cushion, but, we know the score-line isn’t in our favour and we must go for it… it sets everything up for an exciting game. We know we have goals throughout the whole team and that gives us confidence, for sure. When I spoke at the start of the season, I said that I wanted to win the league as that is what everyone wants to do – they want a winners’ medal. However, the next best thing is promotion and that’d mean the world to me. I’ve been successful throughout my career, where I have won titles, but, I have never won promotion through the play-offs yet. I have lost twice; once in the semi-final’s with Stranraer and one in the final with them too, so, I am hoping that Saturday will be third time lucky in that regard.”