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Cool, calm Vikings refuse to panic at Bunillidh

By Matt Leslie

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Thurso manager Stevie Reid: 'I told the boys not to panic.' Picture: James Gunn
Thurso manager Stevie Reid: 'I told the boys not to panic.' Picture: James Gunn

Not panicking was key to Thurso's success on Saturday, according to boss Stevie Reid.

Although the 4-1 scoreline on paper looks to be a comfortable day out at Bunillidh Thistle for the Vikings, they did have their work cut out in their latest North Group match in the Football Times Cup.

Conor Trueman gave them an early lead but they they were pegged back on the half-hour mark when Thistle's Cameron Sutherland netted from the spot.

Thurso restored their lead just before the hour through James Murray and were only able to wrap up victory late on when two goals in quick succession from Innes MacIntosh and another by Trueman gave the scoreline a more flattering look.

Reid said: "Despite their position in the league table, Bunillidh have added some new players and do look a much-improved side.

"We've tended to struggle down there anyway with the narrow pitch they have and the pitch itself gave us one or two issues.

"When we got there, it looked as if the game might be called off as the pitch was quite hard due to overnight frost.

"Both clubs agreed to give it a go on the condition that if it got too dangerous for the players it would be called off.

"As the game went on, the pitch softened up – but in doing so a few bobbles popped up to make control of the ball just a wee bit more difficult than usual.

I told them to relax and to play with freedom.

"It was a very closely contested first half but at the interval I told the boys not to panic as I appreciated how the conditions were affecting their style of play.

"I told them to relax and to play with freedom. They went out, kept going at it and got their rewards."

Thurso face Bonar Bridge at their temporary home at Naver in the latest of their Football Times Cup group matches this Saturday.

Reid added: "James Murray will be unavailable for this one but we will be looking to field Conor Steven and Conor Mackintosh who we feel are overdue some first-team action.

"Bonar Bridge are having a tough time of it since they returned to the North Caledonian League and we hope their fortunes improve soon – only not this weekend, for obvious reasons."

Thurso's visitors will not be travelling north in the best of moods following their 13-0 demolition at the hands of Golspie Sutherland last weekend.

Netting for Golspie were Martin Banks (2), Eoghann Davie (2), Grant MacNab (3), Sandy Sutherland, Ally Macleod, Andrew Banks, Owen Harrold, Adam Sutherland and Sean Munro.

St Duthus strengthened their grip on top spot in the North Caledonian League with a 3-1 win at home to Inverness Athletic.

Stefan McRitchie gave them a fourth-minute lead only for Will Ross to score an own goal for Athletic two minutes later.

Ross atoned for his error 10 minutes into the second half by restoring St Duthus's lead, with Ben Bruce adding a third soon after.

Fixtures for Saturday – North Caledonian League: Golspie Sutherland v Orkney (12.30pm). Football Times Cup (all 1pm): Bunillidh Thistle v Halkirk United; Invergordon v Inverness Athletic; St Duthus v Lewis and Harris; Thurso v Bonar Bridge.

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