Groats book cup final spot but keep grandslam talk on hold
The grand slam may be well and truly on but Wick Groats boss Kevin Anderson is saying nothing to jinx it.
Groats booked their place in the Highland Amateur Cup final with a dramatic semi-final win against old adversaries Pentland United.
Having gone in at half-time 2-0 up, thanks to goals from Ryan Campbell and Ben Sinclair, it looked to be plain sailing for the Upper Bignold side.
But as Jimmy Greaves once said, football's a funny old game with the pendulum swinging back towards Pentland's way with James Murray pulling one back and the comeback being completed in the eighth minute of injury time with Shaun Forbes' equaliser.
Extra-time, despite throwing up chances for both sides to win it, could not separate the two teams with Pentland's Murray miss from the spot proving to be pivotal as Groats took the penalty shootout 5-3.
They will now face Inverness-shire side Avoch in the final at Brora Rangers' Dudgeon Park on Saturday, August 24.
Having landed the Colin Macleod Memorial Cup and the Eain Mackintosh Trophy already, should Groats clinch the league as expected and take care of Staxigoe United in Saturday's David Allan Shield, they will go into the Highland Amateur Cup final on the cusp of repeating their grandslam of 2015.
However, Anderson refuses to get carried away and insists that looking too far ahead can only spell trouble.
He said: "I know I've been playing down the possibility of a grand slam for some time now but I do acknowledge that it is on for us now.
"But, we are not gearing up towards that goal in particular. It's a cliche I know but for us it's always 'one game at a time'.
"Keep your mind focussed on the job in front of you and if you win you're that bit closer to success in that particular competition.
"Take the league for example. A lot of people are expecting us to wrap it up this week but we're not taking anything for granted.
"By the time the Highland Cup final comes around, we could have fallen short in the title race and Staxigoe could have beaten us in the David Allan Shield final.
"Even if we are successful in winning those two competitions, we'll just be focussed on the Highland Amateur Cup final."
Groats made it six wins out of six against their rivals – the only team to have enjoyed success against Pentland this season.
Anderson added: "I think they might be sick of the sight of us – usually when you have two good teams up against each other on so many occasions, the law of averages would suggest that one side would beat the other at least once or twice.
"In all our games, no two matches have been the same and we've seen some great games. Thankfully we've been able to get across the line in each one.
"This one was by far the closest and probably the best one out of the six we've played. Although I'd still like to know where the referee got all that injury-time from that allowed them to equalise. Maybe his watch stopped?
"But it was a great victory – although the post-match celebrations appear to have taken their toll.
"As for Avoch in the final, the beauty of this competition is that you get to play teams you don't often face.
"We've met in two previous finals with them thrashing us 4-0 in the first one we reached in 2012. We got our revenge on them a year later when we beat them 3-1.
"There's a lot to play for before the final but this is a game we're looking forward to tremendously."