Thurso manager Michael Bremner is confident his side can cause an upset on Saturday when they travel to Easter Ross to take on North Caledonian League title contenders Invergordon.
The Vikings have faced a succession of postponements this season, most recently their scheduled home game against Golspie last weekend, and they are backing the league table – three points behind Inverness Athletic and Nairn County ‘A’ but with five games in hand both clubs.
The last time the teams met, at Naver in late October, Invergordon scored twice in the closing stages to win 2-1 in what turned out to be Stevie Reid’s last game in charge of Thurso.
The Easter Ross side bolstered their title hopes this weekend when they came from behind to take all three points against leaders Loch Ness.
“They’re in good shape after their win on Saturday,” Bremner said.
“I haven’t seen them yet, but I watched videos of a few of their games, in Thurso and the last time they were in Halkirk.
“They are not at the top for nothing. It’s a good team, solid and hardworking.
“They were down 2-0 against Loch Ness on Saturday and they won 3-2.
“They’ll all be ready to beat us, but we’ll go out there strong enough and maybe we can get on our nerves.”
He added: “Hopefully we can play a few games and have a little run and get some points on the board. That’s the plan.”
Loch Ness looked on course to extend their lead at the top when they established a two-goal advantage over Invergordon at Canal Park.
Darren MacGregor opened the scoring after 19 minutes and added another just before the half hour mark.
But Invergordon pulled one back two minutes before the break through Niall Docherty and Jack Mackay equalized in the 61st minute. Callum Gow completed the 3-2 victory for the Easter Ross team with a quarter of an hour remaining.
Invergordon are now four points behind with a game less on Loch Ness.
Golspie’s hopes suffered a setback as they were held 1-1 by St Duthus in a game which was rearranged after the club’s trip from Sutherland to Thurso was postponed.
Daniel Christie put the Saints ahead after 32 minutes and Sean Munro equalized seven minutes after the break. The draw leaves Golspie eight points behind Loch Ness.
Inverness Athletic recorded a comfortable 3-0 win over Nairn County ‘A’ at Nairn Academy on Friday.
Thomas Lewis put Athletic ahead after 12 minutes and Dominic MacAulay doubled their lead four minutes later. A Martin Duncan penalty midway through the second half secured the points, lifting Athletic above Nairn on goal difference.
Results – North Caledonian League: Loch Ness 2, Invergordon 3; County Nairn “A” 0, Inverness Athletic 3; St Duthus 1, Golspie Sutherland 1.
Quarter-final of the North Caledonian Cup: Halkirk United 4, Alness United 1.
Matches for Saturday North Caledonian League: Alness United v Loch Ness (2 p.m.); Bonar Bridge v Inverness Athletic (2 p.m.); Invergordon versus Thurso (2 p.m.).
North Caledonian Cup semi-finals: Golspie Sutherland v Halkirk United (2:00 p.m.); County Nairn “A” v St Duthus (2pm).