A snapshot of Montrose's results over the past few weeks:
Montrose 2-2 East Stirlingshire
Stirling Albion 3-1 Montrose
Montrose 4-1 Elgin City
Montrose 5-1 Annan Athletic
Queen's Park 1-2 Montrose
Berwick Rangers 4-0 Montrose
Making Montrose one of the most erratic teams in Scotland. Today they 'welcomed' Peterhead to the North Sea Nou Camp, letting the Balmoor side experience a slightly different style of driving horizontal rain than they're used to in the shadow of the sex offenders' prison.
Montrose knew a win would see them push even further ahead of their visitors in the quest for a playoff place, both sides seeking to win an imaginary berth in the non-existent playoffs to a division that won't exist next season.
Napoleon Dynamite lookalike Jonathan Crawford was suspended today, while Alan Campbell and his auld manny's knees were joined on the injured list by Alan Campbell's auld manny's back, giving Stuart Garden what the Daily Record would refer to as a selection headache. Rather than attend his headache with paracetamol, Mr Garden instead opted to shuffle his pack in an unfathomable manner, pushing Terry Masson to right back and selecting Stephen McNally alongside Mary Shelley's Paul Lunan at centre back.
The Montrose selection was, quite frankly, a fucking disaster. Peterhead ripped Montrose a new arsehole down the left, so much so that they'd scored three in the first half hour. Enough was enough for Garden, Big Mad Lee Wilkie and George Shields, so they performed a swapsie with their McIntoshes, Leighton coming on for Ricky, Garry Wood moving to centre half, Masson pushing up into midfield and McNally restored to right back.
Montrose's best chance in the first half came immediately after Rory McAllister had scored Peterhead's second. The home side launched an attack immediately from the restart, an attack that ended when Scott Ross flattened Garry Wood in the box.
Jamie Winter, having one of his girnier days, stepped up and dinked a weak shot to visiting keeper Graeme Smith's right. The keeper didn't have to be at his best to make the save, and recovered quickly enough to save Winter's volley from the rebound as well.
That essentially summed up Montrose's half, when hand-delivered gilt-edged chances were spurned.
They started the second half in a brighter frame of mind, Winter coming close with a 40(!) yard free kick, while Leighton McIntosh had the ball in the net, only for the goal to be disallowed due to a foul on Smith.
It looked as though the match was heading for a 3-0 home defeat when McAllister, looking to complete his hat-trick, was taken out in the box by hapless home goalkeeper John Gibson. He was shown a straight red card, and Montrose had used all three substitutes. Striker/centre back Garry Wood donned Gibson's jersey and gloves and immediately faced Grade A wanker Rory McAllister from the penalty spot.
The massive walloper looked to have missed his hat-trick opportunity when he battered his kick off the post, but Montrose had one final and spectacular collapse left in them, shipping three more goals in the final three minutes. McAllister completed his hat-trick and Andy Rodgers knocked in two to give Montrose their heaviest defeat of the season.
By the end, they were taking the piss so much that they introduced one of the Jedward twins as a substitute.
This was a miserable afternoon for Montrose, who were poor in every position and never looked up for the match at all. Masson's performance at right back was shaky, gifting Peterhead their opener with a weak clearance. The Montrose left was ripped raw by McAllister and David Cox, and Paul Lunan had an abominable match at centre back, giving the ball away frequently and too often opting for long balls that didn't suit the strikers playing in front of him.
Recent results have shown that Montrose's play-off push isn't as robust as might have been hoped, and that most of the teams in the division are much of a muchness (Montrose beat Annan 4-1. Annan then won at Ibrox...)
They can still do it, there's no doubt about that. But the last two weeks have sown significant seeds of doubt.
Man of the Match: Almost no contenders. All of the players struggled, and some of them were simply very poor. McNally showed a bit of drive in the second half, trying hard to push Montrose back into the match. But Garry Wood, shifted to centre back in the first half, succeeded in shackling the previously rampant McAllister, before turning makeshift goalkeeper after Gibson's red card.