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Halkirk players need no reminders about how much progress they've made, says manager McElroy


By Alan Hendry

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Kyle Henderson jumps for joy after scoring Halkirk United's first-half equaliser in the Football Times Cup final. However, it was Thurso who lifted the trophy after a penalty shoot-out. Picture: James Gunn
Kyle Henderson jumps for joy after scoring Halkirk United's first-half equaliser in the Football Times Cup final. However, it was Thurso who lifted the trophy after a penalty shoot-out. Picture: James Gunn

Halkirk United manager Ewan McElroy says his players need no reminders about how much progress they have made as they look to move on from the disappointment of their cup final shoot-out defeat to Thurso.

One week after the Vikings lifted the Football Times Cup at Wick's Harmsworth Park, the teams are due to meet again in Thurso on Saturday as they get back to business in the North Caledonian League.

The final ended 2-2 at 90 minutes, after Halkirk twice came from behind, and the Vikings went on to win 3-2 on penalties.

"Saturday was obviously a disappointment but these things happen in football and the boys have been brilliant reaching the final," McElroy said.

"I don’t need to remind the squad of the progress they have made. For some of them Saturday's experience was their first final at this level.

"Football is all about dealing with the disappointment of losing and also being able to keep a level head when winning. We will prepare as normal for Saturday.

"The impressive thing about this young group is that, no matter the results, they continue to pull together and work hard every week."

United's top scorer Jonah Martens will be back in contention for the league derby after missing the final through suspension.

"Graham MacNab is still not ready and is a while away," McElroy said. "We have a couple of knocks we will need to assess and it looks likely Hasheem Bremner will miss the next few weeks with an ankle injury."

After Saturday's match, the Anglers are at home to St Duthus and away to Nairn County "A" before they take on current leaders Loch Ness on December 18. However, McElroy is not looking that far ahead.

"You can only ever focus on the next game," he said. "Thurso will obviously be in confident mood after last week's success and we will need to be at our very best if we want to get anything from it."

Halkirk United go into the derby in third place in the table, while Thurso are ninth.

A repeat of the result in the last league game between the sides would suit the Anglers. They were 3-0 winners over Thurso at Morrison Park on the opening day of the season in August.

Loch Ness held on to top spot on Saturday after seeing off Bonar Bridge 3-1.

Phil MacDonald put the leaders in front early on and an own goal extended their advantage before the break. The visitors pulled one back through Stan Keith but Luke Seago made sure of the points in stoppage time.

Second-placed Invergordon were 3-1 winners in Orkney. Charlie MacDonald’s opener was cancelled out by Steven Hellewell before second-half strikes by Ken Morrison and Jack Mackay sealed the points for the Easter Ross side.

Golspie came back from a goal down to beat Nairn County "A" 3-1. Robbie Lean's goal for Nairn was cancelled out by Liam Bremner, before further strikes for Golspie from Robbie Sutherland and Cameron Sutherland.

Jordan Knight grabbed an 89th-minute winner as Alness United defeated St Duthus 4-3.

Saturday's North Caledonian League fixtures: Invergordon v Alness United; Inverness Athletic v Golspie; St Duthus v Nairn County “A”; Orkney v Loch Ness; Thurso v Halkirk United (1pm).

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