COUNTY cruised into the final of the North of Scotland Cup by dismantling a hesitant Rothes defence with four simple first-half strikes, and a stunning Shaun Kerr volley for his hat-trick, at a drizzly Station Park.
Nairn caught the visitors cold when they took the lead in the second minute, Kerr running between two defenders before hitting a shot past Craig Masterton. The Speysiders almost equalised in the 10th minute when Iain MacRae headed a Ross Duncan corner inches over.
The home side doubled their advantage against the run of play in the 22nd minute when the Rothes defence were caught ball-watching and allowed Scott Graham to weave his way along the bye-line before crossing for Maltese international Jonathan Holland to stab the ball home.
In the 27th minute County were on easy street when Rothes keeper Masterton spilled a Gregg Main cross at the feet of Kerr who had the simplest of tasks to tuck the ball away.
Number four was only delayed until the 37th minute. Rothes' defender Michael Dunn's attempted clearance cannoned off fellow defender Paul MacDonald, the ball broke to substitute Duncan Jones and he rattled it home from 12-yards.
Rothes rallied in the second half but by that time the damage had been done.
Kerr was not to be denied, and he completed his hat-trick with a superb volley from the edge of the box in the 77th minute.
NAIRN COUNTY – Campbell, N. MacDonald, Main, Skinner, M. MacDonald, Horne, MacLeod (Jones 32), Holland, Kerr (Finnigan 80), Black (Edwards 74), Graham.
ROTHES – Masterton, Sim, Shortreed, MacDonald (Bain 57), Dunn, R. Duncan (Dougal 64), MacRae, Spence, Taylor, Coll, K. Duncan (Smith 64)
Referee – R. Wright.