Tain football club St Duthus are aiming to march towards North Caledonian League title
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St Duthus manager Stuart Ross says his team have what it takes to challenge for the North Caledonian League Division One title.
But he says the club are under no illusion of how tough it will be in a division with only six teams.
He says every game will count this season as any slip-up could prove costly to a club’s title ambitions.
With the Ross derby at Invergordon on Saturday, Ross is looking for a positive start to the campaign.
“If you look at the fixtures we have Invergordon away followed by Orkney and Golspie at home,” he said.
“It is three difficult games to start with and it is going to be a tough league.
“If you lose any number of matches you will lose momentum and end up falling behind.
“So it is vital that we get off to a good start.
“I can’t see any reason why we can’t challenge for the league title this season.
“We were very good last year and our problem was that we ran out of steam after Christmas.
“But we have maintained our squad from last season and we will be looking to do something in the league as well as the cup as well.”
Ross says starting the season doesn’t get any bigger than a Ross-shire derby and expects a friendly but fiery occasion.
“It’s a friendly derby, even though there is always a bit of needle in the game,” he said.
“But that is a good thing I think as it shows that we are two clubs who are striving to do better.
“It is always a competitive game and Saturday will not be any different.
“Both squads are looking strong as it will be a tasty derby to open the season definitely.
“We are happy with how our pre-season has went with a couple of friendlies.
“But it is great to have a competitive game again in what has been a testing few months.”