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Fighting spirit is what we are about, says co-manager Budge as John O'Groats get second league win of season

By Alan Hendry

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Stuart Sinclair of John O'Groats tussles with Marc Macgregor during last week's match against Pentland United. Picture: James Gunn
Stuart Sinclair of John O'Groats tussles with Marc Macgregor during last week's match against Pentland United. Picture: James Gunn

Co-manager Grant Budge says John O'Groats' new recruits are embracing the fighting spirit that is a key part of the club's identity.

He was speaking after JOG picked up their second win of the season in Caithness AFA Division One with a battling 3-2 victory over High Ormlie Hotspur at Morrison Park on Tuesday night.

"It was a great result, giving us seven points from our first four games," Budge said.

"We are missing Eddie Macgregor, Saleem Bremner and Sam Cairns, who are arguably our best players, but still have enough strength in depth to compete against a team like High Ormlie Hotspur.

"The boys in centre midfield, Lewis Shepherd, Jordan Howden and Taylor Campbell, are in their first full season for us and seem to have grasped what we are about. By that I mean the fighting spirit, the desire to give 100 per cent in every game that John O'Groats are known for.

"Morale is high after our results and performances. We have a 100 per cent record in cup games so far this season – that being said, we've only played one cup game and that has gone to an appeal.

"All the boys are happy to be part of the squad and realise how important it is to do their bit, whether that's starting or from the bench."

High Ormlie took an early lead when William Cannop ran onto a through ball and slotted it home.

JOG responded when a Craig Kennedy shot fell to Martin Sinclair and he stuck out a toe to score from six yards.

The visitors were soon in front when Campbell took a quick free kick that let Jimmy Budge go shoulder to shoulder with the last Hotspur defender. Budge shrugged him off and blasted it in.

High Ormlie levelled when Aidan Reid rose to direct a powerful header into the ground and it ended up high in the net.

The winner arrived with 20 minutes to go.

Substitute Nathan Lightley took the ball down on his chest and laid it off to Shepherd, who beat his man and fed the ball to Jimmy Budge. He took one touch before curling a shot around a defender from 25 yards into the top corner.

Hotspur were unlucky not to grab an equaliser in the closing stages.

Results – Division One: Acks 6, Lybster 1; High Ormlie Hotspur 2, John O'Groats 3; Staxigoe United 1, Pentland United 3; Wick Groats 1, Wick Thistle 0.

Division Two: Castletown 0, Pentland 2; Swifts 1, Top Joe's 4; Watten 2, Keiss 3.

Saturday – Highland Amateur Cup, north section, first round: Acks v Golspie Stafford; Dornoch City v Wick Groats; Helmsdale United v High Ormlie Hotspur; Inver v Lairg Rovers; Lochbroom v John O'Groats; Lochinver v Thurso Pentland; Lybster v Wick Thistle; Staxigoe United v Swifts; Top Joe's v Pentland United; Watten v Keiss (all 3pm).

Tuesday, May 17 – Eain Mackintosh Cup, first round: Pentland v Watten; Top Joe's v Keiss (both 7pm).

Thursday, May 19 – Eain Mackintosh Cup, first round: Acks v High Ormlie Hotspur; Castletown v Swifts; Lybster v Wick Groats; Wick Thistle v Pentland United (all 7pm).

Friday, May 20 – Division One: Staxigoe United v John O'Groats (7.15pm).

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