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Reid confident Thurso can avenge league defeat in cup semi against Loch Ness

By Alan Hendry

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Stevie Reid: 'The difference between the first-half performance and the second was night and day.' Picture: James Gunn
Stevie Reid: 'The difference between the first-half performance and the second was night and day.' Picture: James Gunn

Thurso will be looking to make amends for last weekend's 2-0 loss to Loch Ness at Fortrose in the North Caledonian League when they take on the same opponents at the same venue on Saturday – this time in the semi-finals of the Football Times Cup.

The under-strength Vikings could count themselves unlucky to have nothing to show for their efforts in the league defeat, and manager Stevie Reid is confident of a better outcome in the cup tie.

Stefan McRitchie put Loch Ness in front on the half-hour mark when he took advantage of a misjudgement by keeper Asa Sinclair, and Conor Macphee doubled their advantage with 20 minutes to go.

“We shot ourselves in the foot," Reid said. “In the first half there was nothing much between the teams.

“In the second half we were by far the better team – we just didn't create enough in the final third.

"The difference between the first-half performance and the second was night and day. We played some really good stuff, so we can take the positives from that.

“It was totally against the run of play when they got their second goal.”

Loch Ness remain one point behind leaders Halkirk United, while Thurso have dropped to third bottom.

Reid accepts that cup competitions now offer the best chance of silverware for the Vikings this season.

"You've got to be realistic," he said. "We've had four defeats now, so that's not ideal. But a cup would be nice."

He added: "When they're on the ball and everything is going right they're a good, good side, there is no doubt about it. But it's like every team – you have bad spells and you've just got to ride through it and hopefully come out the other side."

Top scorer Marc Macgregor should be available after missing out last weekend.

Reid said: “We don't have a big squad. Rob McLean wasn't there on Saturday, Marc Macgregor wasn't there. We gave James Murray and Connor Macintosh a start up front to see how it would go, then David Hale got an injury in the first five minutes so we had to make a substitution – it was his first purposeful run down the right wing and he pulled his hamstring.”

It was Thurso's first visit to Loch Ness's new home at King George V Park in Fortrose and Reid said: “It's quite a nice wee set-up they've got there. The pitch is very narrow, but it's a decent surface.”

Orkney continued their revival in the North Caledonian League as they recorded a 4-1 victory over Bonar Bridge at Holm.

The islanders, looking to build on their 4-0 success at Thurso, were two up at the break courtesy of Connan Rendall and Aiden Drever. Paul Macdonald pulled one back for the Sutherland outfit midway through the second half but Orkney made sure of the points with late goals from Liam Delday and Jamie Flett.

Invergordon are the only undefeated team in the league following a dramatic comeback at home to Nairn County.

Benjamin Kelly gave Invergordon the lead three minutes before half-time, but Nairn hit back with goals from Kyle MacDonald and Scott Mutch in the opening 10 minutes of the second period.

The visitors held on until injury time but Invergordon struck through Jack Mackay and Kelly with his second to snatch a 3-2 win.

Alness United climbed above Thurso with a 3-0 victory over Inverness Athletic at Dalmore Park.

Dean Allison put Alness United in front after 14 minutes and Struan Coli doubled their lead on 54 minutes. Craig Morrison's own goal completed the scoring nine minutes later.

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