McKenna toasts cheerful Scorries
Wick Academy boss Tom McKenna was relieved to finally be boarding a bus home that was "full of cheer" after Saturday's 2-1 win against Clachnacuddin at Grant Street Park.
Two first-half goals from striker Craig Gunn gave them a strong half-time advantage and, although Clach's James Beeston pulled one back, the Scorries managed to wrap up their first Highland League victory of the season.
It had not been a happy start to the campaign, with Academy blighted by injuries and a stop-start pre-season before taking only one point from their opening three fixtures.
Two of those matches saw Fraserburgh and Formartine dish out five-goal thumpings. With this tricky trip to Inverness coming up, would Academy have the resolve to bounce back?
The answer to that was "yes" as they came up the road with three points in the bag.
McKenna said: "The bus back home was a much cheerier place than it was when we came back from Fraserburgh on the opening day.
"It was a classic game of two halves. We dominated the first half, played some good football and Craig got two well-taken goals to put us in a strong position at the interval.
"But momentum plays a big part in games and we couldn't regain that when the second half started.
"So many managers say that and maybe we should just switch sides at half-time instead of going into the changing room.
"Joking aside, Clach were playing with a fair bit of wind on their backs and we did expect a reaction from them.
"They upped their workrate, and the intensity that was with us in the opening 45 minutes was not quite there.
We have to go there with a positive frame of mind.
"Their guy came off the bench and with his first touch he smashed in a wonder goal from long range.
"You're then thinking is this going to be another Deveronvale when we let them steal a point off us the other week.
"Thankfully, the boys showed some maturity in their game management and were able to close the game out.
"The difference in them was clear for all to see afterwards as a win always changes the dynamic of a changing room."
Academy travel to derby rivals Brora Rangers in the North of Scotland Cup on Wednesday.
While the Sutherland side have made a flying start to the season – topping the table with four wins out of four – McKenna knows that if Academy perform on the night a surprise result could be on the cards.
He added: "Brora have made a brilliant start – they're one of the favourites for the title and we know we'll have to be at our best.
"But it's a derby game and we have to be up for it. We have to go there with a positive frame of mind because shocks do happen in the cup."
Wick meanwhile have signed Jonah Martens and Kuba Koziol on amateur forms with a view to converting those deals to professional contracts at a later date. Ross Mackay is also expected to sign a similar deal before the Brora game.
Wick Academy under-17s had their championship play-off hopes blown out of the water at Lossiemouth's Grant Park when Aberdeen side Banks O' Dee beat them 7-2.