Surprise package Acks keep title challenge talk on hold
While most eyes have been fixed on Wick Groats and Pentland United in the race for the Caithness AFA Division One title, there is a surprise package in the mix.
Thurso Acks have got their season off to a flying start, going as so far to currently split the big two in the top flight.
The Dammies side are unbeaten in the league and lie in second spot with 13 points, one ahead of Pentland United and two behind Wick Groats.
Admittedly, the season is only a third of the way through and plenty can happen between now and the end. But, given that many were expecting a two-horse race, the sight of a third contender is a welcome one.
Whether Acks can stay with the pace and not fall at any hurdles is another matter. But, as boss Murray Coghill says, the club is in a pretty good place right now.
"We're enjoying our football this year as opposed to last season which wasn't the greatest," he said.
"Last year there were high expectations because of how well we had done in 2017, having finished fourth and reached a cup final.
"Maybe those expectations proved to be a burden. What I do know is that our chances were not helped when we lost a few players before the start of last season.
"The players that remained were on a downer after that and last year was not the best of campaigns.
"However, we've a positive atmosphere about the club now and the players are simply just enjoying to be out there playing.
He's stronger and fitter than I've ever seen him and has so far been a real calming influence in the midfield.
"We have started well, and that's great, but we're not getting excited about anything. We'll just see how we get on as the season unfolds first. We're trying to keep the boys' feet on the ground.
"The fixture list has been kind to us in that we've not faced Pentland or Groats early on but that time is rapidly approaching, starting with an away game at Groats [Tuesday, June 4].
"Once we've played those two, then we'll see where we really are in terms of our place in the league. Regardless of how those games go, we'll still be pushing to finish as high as we can."
Regardless of how the rest of the season pans out for Acks, Coghill is delighted with how a number of players have come on since last year.
He added: "It's very difficult to pick out individuals as so many have done well for us.
"The likes of Charlie Fraser, Sean Munro, Scott Bell and David Hale – who has done admirably in playing in a number of positions across the pitch – have been fantastic for us.
"Lee Mackay has come back to us after a year playing with Halkirk and he's stronger and fitter than I've ever seen him and has so far been a real calming influence in the midfield.
"However, 15-year-old Scott Mowat at right-back has been a real find. He's still a pupil at Thurso High School.
"Thurso United gave us a tip-off about him and he's been superb. He's very calm on the ball, takes great care in picking the right pass and we're delighted with his progress."