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Caithness coach acknowledges ‘sacrifices’ by players in disrupted campaign

By Iain Grant

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Ellon are the last of three scheduled late-season visitors to Millbank as the Greens look to put behind them what has been a forgettable campaign in Caledonia League 1.

Just two of their home fixtures have gone ahead as scheduled, with Ellon having called off on two previous occasions while a rainstorm put paid to their planned trip just after new year.

Caithness coach Cameron Boyd concedes it has been difficult to maintain focus for his squad given the long gaps between outings.

It takes three opponents to stop Calum MacDonald during the Greens' 33-31 defeat to Moray earlier this month. Picture: James Gunn
It takes three opponents to stop Calum MacDonald during the Greens' 33-31 defeat to Moray earlier this month. Picture: James Gunn

“The league season was meant to be finished before Christmas so it has been tough for guys having to rearrange their work and personal lives to fit in with all the changes in the fixture list,” he said. “I do appreciate the sacrifices they are having to make.

“Training has been really good and I think the guys now have a good understanding of what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to achieve.”

Boyd says what is currently lacking is consistency of performance.

“We’ve made some huge strides in some areas but maybe not so much in others,” he said.

“In the last game, against Moray, our attack looked fantastic throughout but then we forgot to defend at crucial periods.

“We’re not far away from being a top three side – it’s just that consistency we’re lacking.”

A depleted Greens suffered a 57-8 defeat at Ellon in mid-September.

Boyd is hoping that on Saturday his men can continue their steady progress since he took charge at the end of October.

Key forward Kevin Brims returns after missing the Moray match, while scrum-half Euan MacDonald is fit and available after missing the last four months with knee ligament damage.

Wick’s Ben Bissett has also made a return to action and is likely to provide tight forward cover from the bench.

Lambing season means it is likely to mean one of the Websters, Scott or Douglas, will miss out.

The game kicks off at 3pm.

Saturday’s planned Seconds match at Millbank between Caithness and Orkney was called off because of the stormy weather.

Ex-Green Stuart Kirk was a late call-up to the Caley Reds side which opened their Scottish Inter-District Championship defence in Glasgow on Saturday.

Kirk, a centre with National Division 1 side Dundee, played the last 10 minutes of the match at Braidholm. Caley, who are again coached by ex-Caithness stalwart Colin Sangster, went down 26-22.

Orkney hooker Scott Rendall came off the bench just after half-time to make his debut for the district outfit. He won the Kinrara Distillery Spirit of Caledonia Award as the defensive player of the match.

The Reds next play Edinburgh and the East at the city’s Raeburn Place on Saturday.

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