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Saints don’t expect easy march to cup success against Orkney

By John MacLeod

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ST Duthus manager Stuart Ross expects a tough test when his side face Orkney in the Jock MacKay Cup final at the Recreation Grounds on Saturday.

St Duthus player Ben Bruce runs at the Halkirk United defence. Picture: Graeme Webster
St Duthus player Ben Bruce runs at the Halkirk United defence. Picture: Graeme Webster

It is a re-run of the 2016-17 final, which Orkney won 2-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

On-form Saints, who are on a seven-match winning run, were meant to play Orkney in the league last week.

But due to adverse weather conditions the islanders were unable to make the trip to the mainland due to a ferry cancellation.

Prospects are much brighter for this weekend and the Saints’ boss is looking forward to another close encounter between the teams.

He said: “Everyone at the club is really looking forward to the cup final.

“Games between ourselves and Orkney are always good games of football as well as great battles – Saturday’s final should be no different.”

Saints are expected to be at full strength for the final, with no reported injuries or call-offs.

Invergordon’s match against Bunillidh Thistle at Helmsdale was also called off due to a waterlogged Couper Park.

Thurso’s match with Bonar Bridge, which was scheduled to go ahead at the all-weather Naver pitch also fell foul of the weather.In the only fixture to go ahead, Halkirk United defeated Inverness Athletic 3-1.

Athletic had strong claims for a penalty turned down early on before Kyle Henderson gave the visitors the lead just after the half-hour mark after a counter-attack at Inverness Royal Academy.

Athletic got back on level terms a couple of minutes later, however.

Phil MacDonald, making a welcome return to the side, knocked in a James Murray lay-off for the equaliser.

A terrible mix-up in the Athletic defence at the start of the second half led to James Mackintosh restoring Halkirk’s lead.

There was no way back for Athletic when Ben Gordon made it 3-1 with a stunning strike 15 minutes from the end.

Shane Carling was sacked as manager of Inverness Athletic on Sunday after their poor start to the league season.

His assistant, Jason Golabek will take charge of the side’s match against Thurso on Saturday.

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