Peterhead fell at the final hurdle in their promotion quest last season, but have a good opportunity to make amends this time around. They are currently 7/4 favourites to do so.
The dynamics of Scottish Division Three in 2012-13 were skewered by the inclusion of Glaswegian behemoths Rangers, who unsurprisingly won the league to gain automatic promotion. They subsequently forced Peterhead into the Scottish Second Division Play-offs, where they were beaten by Division two side East Fife, though by just a 1-0 margin over two legs.
Peterhead’s title claims this season are largely justified by their miserly defence, though keeping Rory McAllister will also be a massive fillip for the club. The striker, capped at under-21 level by Scotland, scored 21 goals last term, giving him 41 in his two seasons at Balmoor.
Even Rangers were pipped by The Blue Toon defensively, with Jim McInally’s side conceding just 28 goals in their 36 games, down from 53 in 2011-12. It is worth noting that Queen’s Park, who finished third, conceded 54, making it hard to look beyond Peterhead this season.
In six meetings with Queen’s Park, Peterhead won four, drew one and lost one, with the former only managing to breach Peterhead’s defence in two matches.
Queen’s Park are 5/1 to win the league, but having been so comprehensively beaten by Peterhead in the play-offs (4-1 on aggregate), they are hard to back this time around.
Peterhead’s strongest challenge will come from relegated Albion Rovers. Albion were out of their depth in League Two, their two-year stay in the division seeing them finish ninth and 10th. The loss of several key players after that initial season was bound to take its toll, and in being automatically relegated last year they shipped a whopping 82 goals.
While many of their players will possess experience at a higher level, they will not have the intimate knowledge of their Division Three rivals that Peterhead do.
In addition, the club is in a state of flux after the departure of manager Todd Lumsden. Five players have been released, and a number of others, including last season’s top scorer David Crawford (10), are weighing up their options before deciding whether to sign new deals. Albion can be taken at 9/2 for the title.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing