McElroy says his Halkirk players are showing 'real energy and focus' ahead of clash with free-scoring champions
Easier access to your trusted, local news. Have a look at our brand new digital subscription packages!
Halkirk United manager Ewan McElroy is well aware of the firepower at Golspie's disposal – but he reckons his in-form team can be more than a match for the North Caledonian League champions when they meet this weekend.
The Anglers are sitting proudly at the top of the table going into the match at Morrison Park following a comfortable 3-0 victory at Bonar Bridge last Saturday.
Golspie have been scoring goals for fun recently and Liam Bremner has streaked ahead of Halkirk's Jonah Martens in the league scoring charts. The Sutherland side are in fourth place, three points behind the Anglers with two games in hand.
"We know that despite our recent good performances Golspie will be going in as heavy favourites," McElroy said.
"Liam is one of the best strikers in the division. He is a good age and has all the right attributes to push on, in my opinion.
"Conor Cormack is another talented player, one I rate very highly.
"That being said, we have plenty of talented boys ourselves and are looking a constant threat going forward. We are playing some cracking football and there is a real energy and focus among the squad."
McElroy added: "We are missing a few on Saturday due to holidays and work commitments. Although it's not ideal timing, we have a competitive squad and are very much looking forward to testing ourselves against one of the league’s best."
Hasheem Bremner opened the scoring after 16 minutes at Bonar with what appeared to be a cross that caught out the keeper.
Martens doubled the lead from the penalty spot after 35 minutes, and Sam Barclay made sure of the points two minutes after the break.
"We were really pleased to come away with the win and even more so with another clean sheet," McElroy said. "We had a bit of a makeshift centre-back pairing as Ian Ross, Ryan Sutherland and Aidan Reid were all missing.
"James Mackintosh and Stuart Atkins were paired together and neither of them put a foot wrong. I don’t actually think Bonar had a shot on target for the duration and in the first half in particular I thought some of the football was excellent."
Champions Golspie recorded another convincing victory as they thumped Nairn County "A" 5-1, with top scorer Liam Bremner again leading the way.
He helped himself to four goals in the opening half-hour, his first coming from the penalty spot. An own goal just after half-time closed the gap to 4-1 but Miller Mackay added another for Golspie 11 minutes from the end.
Inverness Athletic remain at the bottom of the table as they were beaten 2-1 by Invergordon at Ardersier.
Niall Docherty put Invergordon in front midway through the first half. Athletic’s Kieran Duffty levelled four minutes into the second half, but within three minutes Invergordon had regained their advantage through Kyle Maclean.
St Duthus came out on top in the Ross-shire derby as they defeated Alness United 4-2 in Tain after a frantic start.
Dean Allison gave Alness a first-minute lead. Jake Lockett equalised three minutes later and Alexander Mackay put Alness in front again in the sixth minute.
Saints took control, though, with goals from Daniel Christie and Ross Tokely putting them in front by half-time. Lockett went on to add another.
North Caledonian League fixtures for Saturday: Alness United v Inverness Athletic; Halkirk United v Golspie Sutherland; Invergordon v Nairn County "A"; Loch Ness v Thurso; Orkney v Bonar Bridge.