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Anderson welcomes back Groats hitman MacNab

By Matt Leslie

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Wick Groats boss Kevin Anderson is hoping the return of star striker Graham MacNab will inspire his side to more trophy glory on Saturday.

The Upper Bignold team face Pentland United in the Eain Mackintosh Cup final with Groats hoping to add to their already bulging trophy cabinet.

MacNab, who in previous seasons has been terrorising defences the length and breadth of Caithness, has been on the sidelines this year with a knee injury.

It was discovered that an issue with his cartilage required intensive physiotherapy and would make him unavailable for first-team duties.

However, he made his comeback against Thurso Acks the other night and twice got on the scoresheet during the 4-0 win, with Ben Sinclair and Conor Farquhar also on target.

Anderson said: "It's good to have Graham back and scoring again.

"We will be monitoring him on a game-by-game basis to ease him back into things given the injury he's just come back from.

"When he came on against Acks it was his first game in eight weeks and hopefully he'll be available for Saturday's final.

When you have that situation, one match usually goes against the grain

"Graham was always worth 30 to 40 goals a season – he won't be getting that this year but all being well he can chip in with a few for the second half of the season.

"As for the final itself, as I've said before, no two games between us and Pentland United are the same. A repeat of the Colin Macleod final where we won 5-2 might be unlikely.

"Obviously there's a trophy at stake but, given that we're neck and neck in the league title race, another victory for us could set a marker down for when we meet again in the league.

"However, it is very difficult playing a team so soon after a previous game. When you have that situation, one match usually goes against the grain for you. We have to be on our guard to stop that from happening."

As for the league, while pleased with the result at Acks, Anderson has noticed one unwelcome aspect creeping into his team's game.

He added: "Not for the first time of late, it took us a while to get going.

"This has been happening for the last few games now and we need to start more brightly from the first whistle, otherwise somebody will catch us out.

"Once we got up to speed against Acks, I felt we were always in control and I felt the scoreline flattered them a wee bit."

Meanwhile, Thurso Acks boss Murray Coghill says that any hopes for a title challenge have now gone.

He said: "I'll say that's it as far as we're concerned with the league title. The start we made to the season was tremendous but after playing both Groats and Pentland we are now looking at consolidating our current position in third place.

"It was a tough ask to play against a side like Groats and you need a bit of luck which sadly wasn't forthcoming for us."

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