Club News

Manager was right to let me go, admits honest keeper

Thu 16 Nov 2017

 

Graeme Smith is certainly not bitter about his Peterhead exit six months ago. In fact, the goalkeeper has claimed Jim McInally was right to release him.

Smith was part of an exodus following the Blue Toon’s relegation to League 2 at the end of last season.

The 35 year old, who was with the club for nearly five years, bowed out on a career low after Forfar claimed a 7-2 aggregate victory in the play-off final.

Peterhead ultimately dropped down to Scotland’s bottom tier but Smith did not after securing a deal with Raith Rovers, which meant a return to full-time football.

The Kirkcaldy club visit Balmoor this weekend in the Scottish Cup third round, a tie Smith is relishing.

Smith said: “I am looking forward to seeing a few old faces because I really enjoyed my time at Peterhead.”

“It was one of the happiest periods of my career.”

“I was bitterly disappointed with how it finished but performance-wise I was not up to scratch and collectively we were very poor last season.”

Smith continued: “The manager decided it was time for a lot of players to move on and I fell into that category but I left on good terms.”

“The decision Jim made was probably, in fairness, the right one for the club because Peterhead don’t deserve to be in League 2 in my eyes.”

“They should be League 1 or better because they have so many fantastic people, who work hard behind the scenes.”

An initial short-term contract turned into a long stay at Balmoor for Smith, who owns a European medal after being named on the bench for Rangers’ UEFA Cup final against Zenit St Petersburg in 2008.

Smith joined Peterhead from St Mirren and went on to make more than 150 appearances.

There were plenty of highlights along the way including a League 2 title triumph in 2013/14 and a Challenge Cup final appearance in 2015/16.

Smith said: “Jim and Davie Nicholls gave me an opportunity to play when I left St Mirren.”

“I had not played for a year through injuries and everything else but they gave me a chance.”

“Part-time initially took me a while to get used to, but to be back playing regularly at 3 o’clock on Saturdays was great.”

“That initial month contract turned into four and a half years with some brilliant occasions and memories.”

The former St Johnstone and Kilmarnock keeper added: “Ever since I walked through the door at Peterhead, I was made very welcome and I am proud to have been part of that bit of history the club created.”

“Of course, I would have loved a chance to redeem myself after the play-off final at the end of last season.”

“I’m sure other players, who left, would have wanted another crack at it as well, but the manager is paid to make the decisions and there is no bitterness whatsoever.”

“As I said, that was probably the right call for the sake of the club.”

 

By Glenn Moir