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Lybster gearing up for 'two cup finals' in bid to stay in top flight


By Alan Hendry

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Lybster manager Cameron Mackenzie: 'We can't rely on any other teams, we've got to just go for it.' Picture: James Gunn
Lybster manager Cameron Mackenzie: 'We can't rely on any other teams, we've got to just go for it.' Picture: James Gunn

Manager Cameron Mackenzie says Lybster's remaining fixtures in Caithness AFA Division One amount to "two cup finals" – and he is confident the village outfit will pick up enough points to preserve their top-flight status.

Mackenzie's side succumbed to a 6-0 defeat against Wick Groats on Tuesday night and they remain level on 10 points with Wick Thistle and John O'Groats. They face Staxigoe United and John O'Groats in their last two league games.

Lybster conceded three goals in each half at the Upper Bignold and had Colin MacRae sent off midway through the second period.

"We played a lot better in the second half, but we've been a second-half team all year," Mackenzie said. "Then we kind of crumbled in the last 10 minutes.

"We matched their energy, I thought. These boys [Groats] are not here to win, they're here to win by a good margin.

"We could easily rely on goal difference to stay up. Goal difference matters on either side.

"It was frustrating, and the sending off obviously didn't help, but even with 10 men we kept our shape and we still battled to the end.

"Now we've got two cup finals, pretty much, against Staxigoe and John O'Groats.

"We can't rely on any other teams, we've got to just go for it. I'm confident we will stay up. We'll get points somewhere."

Steven Anderson scored twice for Groats, including a penalty, after earlier goals from Alan Mathieson, Stewart Atkins, Grant MacNab and Martin Sutherland.

Acks' hat-trick hero Kyle Innes is surrounded by High Ormlie Hotspur players on Monday night. A 4-1 win allowed Acks to move up to fifth place. Picture: James Gunn
Acks' hat-trick hero Kyle Innes is surrounded by High Ormlie Hotspur players on Monday night. A 4-1 win allowed Acks to move up to fifth place. Picture: James Gunn

Acks moved up to fifth place, two points clear of the bottom three, after a 4-1 victory over High Ormlie Hotspur on Monday. Acks player/co-manager Craig Trueman admitted afterwards: "That was a big win for us. I think if we had lost we'd have been as good as down."

John O'Groats, meanwhile, are seeking to pull clear of the danger zone and avoid a first-time relegation.

Their co-manager Grant Budge said: "We have Wick Thistle and then Lybster to play. Both teams are on the same points as us at the moment but have a better goal difference.

"We'll need at least one win from those two to give us a chance.

"John O'Groats haven't been relegated since joining the first division over 20 years ago. I think that will give the boys confidence, knowing that we've been in this position before and battled through to survive.

"It will be tough – Lybster and Thistle have been picking up points recently."

Remaining fixtures in Division One: Acks v Wick Groats; Pentland United v High Ormlie Hotspur; Wick Thistle v John O'Groats (all August 9); Staxigoe United v Lybster (August 10); Wick Thistle v Pentland United (August 12, TBC); High Ormlie Hotspur v Wick Groats; Lybster v John O'Groats; Pentland United v Wick Thistle; Staxigoe United v Acks (all August 16).

Results – Eain Mackintosh Cup final: Pentland United 3, Wick Groats 1.

Division One: High Ormlie Hotspur 1, Acks 4; John O’Groats 1, Pentland United 11; Wick Groats 6, Lybster 0; Wick Thistle 2, Staxigoe United 2. Steven Cup, semi-final, first leg: Castletown 5, Swifts 1.

Fixtures – Thursday – Steven Cup, semi-final, first leg: Thurso Pentland v Keiss (7pm). David Allan Shield, quarter-final: Wick Thistle v Pentland United (7pm).

Friday – David Allan Shield, quarter-finals: Castletown v John O’Groats; Lybster v Acks; Staxigoe United v Wick Groats (7pm).

Monday – Steven Cup, semi-finals, second leg: Keiss v Thurso Pentland; Swifts v Castletown (7pm).

Wednesday – David Allan Shield, semi-finals: Castletown or John O’Groats v Lybster or Acks; Staxigoe United or Wick Groats v Wick Thistle or Pentland United (7pm).


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