Boss McElroy full of praise for promoted Spurs
High Ormlie Hotspur boss Ewan McElroy admitted he could not have foreseen promotion happening after their poor start to the season.
Spurs booked their place in the Caithness AFA top flight for next season after a last-minute Lee Sutherland winner pulled off a 3-2 play-off win against Castletown.
Korbyn Cameron and Ben Gordon had given them a 2-0 lead before two Jack McKechnie penalties brought Castletown level.
Having survived a third penalty claim, Spurs held their nerve and got their reward bang on the final whistle.
The result means that Castletown are relegated, having only spent one year back in the top flight, with Spurs going up alongside Division Two champions Wick Thistle.
It is a remarkable achievement for High Ormlie considering they were well off the pace earlier in the campaign.
McElroy paid tribute to his players whose fighting spirit ensured promotion was secured.
"I don't think I could have imagined the season would end like this given the start we had," he said.
"I was genuinely confident that we would put it all together and go on a decent run – it just turned out to be a very good run.
"We have a young squad here with an average age of 19 so we had to give them a bit of time. They in turn worked very hard throughout the season and they were a pleasure to coach.
"We started the game well but then came the flip side after half-time with Castletown getting those two penalties and unlucky not to have got a third.
"Although we're a young team, we do have one old head in Lee who at 31 used his experience to get into a position in the last minute to pop up and get the winner for us – suffice to say we went a bit ballistic when that went in.
I was genuinely confident that we would put it all together
"I couldn't comment on how the celebrations went as I had to go home early but I'm sure the young lads were sensible enough to have a lemonade."
Thoughts now turn to next season and the question is will Spurs' group of talented youngsters be able to survive in Division One?
McElroy said: "We are under no illusions that we will be favourites to go down next year.
"However, our young lads will be a year older and wiser. Plus they will have some experience of playing the winter for the likes of Wick Academy under-17s, as well as for Halkirk and Thurso in the North Caledonian League.
"So we'll give it our best. But for now, we're enjoying what we've achieved – especially given how unlikely it was following our start to the season."