Andy McCarthy insists Peterhead are raring to go as competitive action returns with Saturday’s League Cup tie against Hearts at Balmoor.
The Blue Toon’s last competitive match was a 3-2 defeat to Dumbarton which rounded off the 2020-21 League One season.
Since then they have played a few pre-season friendlies and saw one – against Turriff United – called off due to Covid problems at the Haughs club.
A 2-1 defeat of Inverurie Locos and a 1-1 draw with Forfar Athletic preceded a 4-3 win over Broughty Athletic ahead of Saturday’s Premier Sports Cup opener with Hearts.
Midfielder McCarthy reckons the Blue Toon players are champing at the bit to get back to competitive games – and the fact the first one is against Premiership opposition just excites them more.
“For our first game you couldn’t pick a better one than Hearts at Peterhead,” said McCarthy, whose side will also take on Cove Rangers, Caley Thistle and Stirling Albion in Group A.
“Last year we were away to Dundee United and won there – it does make it more exciting.
“It’s a game we’re all looking forward to, especially having not played competitively for a couple of months. The season was shorter last year as well so all the boys are buzzing for it.
“I think it’s a big game for both clubs as every team wants to start the season right. But it’s a Premiership team and you want to go and show what you can do against them.
“We’ve got players who are more than good enough to match them on our day.”
A small number of fans will be allowed into Balmoor for the match hoping to see a repeat of the club’s celebrated 2017 win over the Jambos in the same competition.
McCarthy, who is set to shrug off a hamstring problem for the tie, is just looking forward to playing competitively in front of an audience again.
“I’ve only played a few games in front of fans at Peterhead – when I first joined about a year and a half ago,” McCarthy added.
“It does make a difference – just look at the Euros now. Even a small number of fans coming to games gets you going.
“You can see how connected the fans are to the games. Having fans back is something I think everyone is looking forward to. It’s magnificent.
“Home or away, if you’ve got your fans there you get a boost. You want to play well for them.
“We’ve missed them as much as they’ve missed us.”
Peterhead don’t have their injury worries to seek, with several players possibly missing out after picking up knocks in the friendly against Broughty Athletic.
Both skipper Scott Brown and defender Jason Brown are also unavailable due to suspensions carried forward from last term.
Boss Jim McInally told the Peterhead website: “It was a very expensive friendly and I am not sure what our line-up will be to face Hearts because we have so many players out.
“We had agreed to give our dugout to Hearts to place their substitutes there, which is quite ironic as we may not have many subs ourselves.
“It is disappointing that suspensions from last season are carried forward and that is something I think should be looked into by clubs.
“It will take a monumental effort from a makeshift side to repeat our famous success of 2017.”