Andrew Greig scored twice as Brora Rangers booked their place in the last four of the North of Scotland Cup in a far from perfect display by the cup favourites.
Greig struck early in either half and Zander Sutherland chipped in with a decisive third goal as Brora wore down their spirited hosts, who netted a consolation counter from Jordan Macrae.
Two-goal Greig said: “We started off really well, but we let our standards drop.
“We stopped doing what we are good at and let them back into the game. But we’re glad we came away with the win and getting through was our only aim.
“Our full focus now is going on to win the cup again.”
Brora took the lead after just 75 seconds. Kyle Macleod slipped Greig clear and the midfielder drilled the ball past Nairn goalkeeper Ryan MacLeod into the far corner of the net.
County had loud claims for a penalty turned down shortly after by referee Liam Duncan when Dylan MacKenzie appeared to be sent crashing to the ground when he was challenged in the box by both Jamie Duff and Colin Williamson, the latter recovering first to clear the danger.
Brora were close to doubling their lead in the 20th minute when Ally MacDonald picked out Macleod with a precision pass, but the youngster’s effort crashed off the crossbar.
County were far from out of it and Dylan MacKenzie was not far away with a deflected shot from the edge of the 18-yard box. County forward Gary Kerr forced his way into the box but his attempted lay-off was knocked behind for a corner while at the other end Macleod was through on goal after Sutherland slipped him in but his shot was charged down by Ryan Macleod in the County goal.
The home side came desperately close to levelling the score seven minutes from the break when Wayne Mackintosh clipped the inside of the post with a 20-yard shot, but the ball rebounded on the wrong side of the line before being cleared. Brora made the perfect start to the second half when Scott Graham worked his way into the box before teeing up Greig for his second goal of the tie.
Greig almost turned provider four minutes later when he sent Steven Mackay clear but he was denied by the woodwork as his shot cannoned off the near post.
The tie was over as a contest on the hour mark when Sutherland raced on to a clever reverse pass from Graham before rounding the goalkeeper to score.
Mackintosh had the chance to pull one back in the 68th minute after he was put through by Callum Maclean but Joe Malin made a brilliant one-handed save to keep him out.
But the home side did reduce the deficit 15 minutes from time when Jordan Macrae scored direct from a free kick.