Invergordon and St Duthus managers give their opinion

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St Duthus manager Alan Geegan believes inner conviction will be vital as they seek to lift the Football Times Cup against Invergordon on Saturday.

The Saints – who are holders of the North Caledonian Cup – take on current North Caley League champions in a high-stakes derby at King George V Park, Golspie, at 3.30pm.

Geegan de Tain’s side are in fine form, despite a shock 7-0 league defeat to Alness and a 2-2 draw against Orkney stalling their progress in terms of results at least.

However, the boss insists the mood remains high, with the team achieving the lofty goals he set when he took charge just over a year ago.

He said: “The majority of the squad were involved in April when we won the North Caledonian Cup final against Halkirk and we still feel that and we have a few additions who are delighted.

“There is a big incentive to win another trophy.

“When I took over, there were perhaps not too many expectations.

“However, I defined very early on what I wanted to achieve. When I arrived we were second, but eventually we finished fifth and got our hands on the cup.

“It gave everyone at the club a boost in terms of their own abilities. I still believe in them as long as they believe in themselves. If they put in the required work ethic, they won’t be far in the games.

“We took a bad one against Alness, but we were unlucky against Orkney when we were down.

“We were 2-0 up with minutes to go and conceded two goals late, but in terms of performance, work rate and effort, we couldn’t fault the boys.”

Saints must be at their best – patron

League champions Invergordon have steadily climbed the standings, now sitting in third place, and Geegan expects close competition.

He added: “Invergordon is the current champion for a reason. They have a strong team and I know the majority of their players from playing against them or watching them in the summer.

“They are a solid team – and we will have to be at our best if we are to succeed. I expect a close and difficult game.

The Saints have five-goal striker Jake Lockett in a Cup tie, having featured for Invergordon in the first round of the competition. They should otherwise be at full power.

Burning Invergordon can improve

Invergordon manager Gary Campbell, meanwhile, is determined to see his side win their ninth game in a row to clinch another piece of silverware.

They hit the net with consistency and haven’t lost since Loch Ness got the better of them in a 3-1 loss in early September.

Campbell is happy with the progress, but he’s sure there’s more to come from his side.

He said: “We had good results, but we can still improve because we didn’t always play well throughout some games.

“Being unbeaten for eight games counts for nothing when it comes to a cup final.

“We had a bad start to the season, so that’s always on our minds.

“It’s a nice break, to get away from league duty. A cup final is always something to look forward to – it will be a good chance for the boys.

Invergordon was the NCL champion last season. With the league trophy, left to right, manager Gary Campbell, assistant Ali MacGregor and player/coach Shaun Kerr.

Campbell has his eyes on the prize

And Campbell, whose side have scored 14 goals in total in their last three games, against Clachnacuddin A, Thurso and then Bonar Bridge, has no interest in being just runners-up.

He said: “There’s no point reaching a final if you can’t win it.

“We are no different to anyone else – we want to win every competition we enter. We want to overcome this hurdle and make sure we win the next trophy.

“But St Duthus seem to be doing well in cup competitions and they are a strong team.

“It’s a local derby and I expect a close game. We will have to play really well to beat them, as is the case every week in the league.

Golspie can get closer to Loch Ness

In the North Caledonian League on Saturday, with Loch Ness favorites inactive, Golspie Sutherland can move within two points of leaders if they win at mid-table Alness United.

A win for fifth-placed Inverness Athletic at home to Thurso would see them overtake Cup finalists Invergordon and St Duthus, while Fort William travel to basement opponents Bonar Bridge after an agreed change of venue.

Halkirk United and visitors Orkney, locked on 15 points, will be looking to move up, while A sides Clachnacuddin and County Nairn will meet as they look to move further away from Bonar Bridge. Nairn holds a four-point advantage over the Lilywhites, who have three games in hand.

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