Greens plunged into turmoil as boss Sutherland is sacked
Caithness Rugby Club was plunged into further turmoil this week after head coach George Sutherland was sacked.
Sutherland had returned to the club following Tom McGee's shock resignation earlier this year.
After helping the club to a respectable mid-table finish in their inaugural season in National League Division Three, a lack of playing numbers and the existing squad being decimated by injuries has seen the Greens rooted to the bottom of the table this term.
However, it appears that results were not the coach's undoing as rumours of all not being well behind the scenes have been persistent.
As yet, no replacement has been announced.
Sutherland didn't last long before showing the door but McGee left amid speculation of a breakdown in relations between coach and the club committee, as did his predecessor Russell Mill.
Club president George Sinclair said: "We regret that Caithness Rugby Club have agreed to part company with head coach George Sutherland by mutual consent."
Sutherland would not be drawn into commenting on what actually led to his spell as head coach being terminated but did issue a short statement.
He said: "Out of respect for the players and coaching staff who are left to get through a season of turmoil, I refuse to give comment on my dismissal."
It has not been an ideal week for Caithness as for the second time this season they have had to scratch from a fixture.
They had been due to travel down to Glasgow for a National League Cup tie against promotion-chasing National League Division Two side GHK.
However, the Greens' ever-growing injury list has meant that they are struggling for numbers and, fearing that they would be unable to raise a team to fulfil this fixture, they have pulled out of the cup.
It remains to be seen if Caithness will be punished by the Scottish Rugby Union. The SRU did not comment when asked if the Greens would be sanctioned for scratching from the GHK match.
Even if Caithness had shown up for Saturday's game, they would not have done so in the best of spirits following their 48-17 thumping at home by Lasswade last weekend.
The boys just simply ran out of gas.
Backs coach Norman Foubister took temporary charge for this one and said that Lasswade's high level of fitness proved to be too much for the beleaguered Greens.
"Lasswade had some very strong runners and they got off to a very good start," he said.
"We managed to fight our way back with two good tries from Jack Macleod and Kevin Budge but in the last 20 minutes Lasswade got their dander up and pulled away from us.
"Our injury troubles also resurfaced. George Sutherland – despite what had happened to him with the coaching job – agreed to turn out for us but did his calf early on. Then, in the second half, James Tunn broke his arm following a ruck.
"As for the final quarter of the game, the boys just simply ran out of gas."
Caithness are next in action on November 2 away to Hillhead/Jordanhill but it is unlikely that Foubister will be in the hot-seat as Sutherland's successor.
He added: "I'm just seeing the team through until something is decided on the position of head coach."
Elsewhere in National League Division Three, Ardrossan Academicals knocked Greenock Wanderers off the top of the table with a 31-23 victory.
Howe of Fife edged out Murrayfield Wanderers in a 43-33 thriller, while Berwick came away from Perthshire with a 32-20 win.
West of Scotland joined Caithness in the relegation battle as the Milngavie side fell 24-12 at home to Hillhead/Jordanhill.
The match between Carrick and Strathmore was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.
National League Cup fixtures
Saturday October 26 (3pm unless stated)
Carrick v Preston Lodge (2.45pm)
Ardrossan Academicals v Peebles
Falkirk v Strathmore
GHK w/o Caithness
(GHK awarded tie following Caithness's withdrawal from the competition)
Greenock Wanderers v Lasswade
Howe of Fife v Perthshire
Kirkcaldy v Hamilton Bulls
Stewart's Melville v Dumfries Saints