Brora Rangers boss Steven Mackay is hoping to tie up deals for Jamie Stephen and Millar Gamble after they were let go by Ross County and Caley Thistle.
Goalkeeper Stephen was between the sticks in Saturday’s 3-2 friendly win over Elgin City, with Joe Malin rested, while centre-back Gamble came on as a second-half substitute.
Both were released by the Highlands’ top two senior sides this summer in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Stephen had been with County’s reserve side an ex-ICT trainee Gamble was capped by the Scotland Schools’ side last season.
It comes as ex-County full-back Tom Kelly penned a one-year deal with the club after an impressive loan spell at Dudgeon Park last season.
Mackay said: “Both have trained with us for the last couple of weeks and we know the club has typically been a bit top-heavy with experienced players. The team has switched over the last couple of years, with Jordan (MacRae), Andy (Macrae) and now Tom (Kelly) coming in, where the majority of the team is between 20 and 22.
“Jamie and Millar are younger than that bracket. We want to take them in and nurture them with the experienced players we have got. Both did very well on Saturday and I’m pretty confident of getting something done.
“They come with the right characteristics, in terms of the discipline of a full-time professional environment. We’re in contact with County and ICT about players that might become available; one of our selling points is giving players who’ve had knockbacks the chance to play for an experienced Highland League side and be successful.
“Hopefully they can grow into accomplished Highland League players or kick on even further.”
Should Gamble and Stephen both sign, then Mackay anticipates no further business ahead of the new season after getting Kelly’s deal over the line.
He added: “Tom’s been a phenomenal player for us during his loan spell and is going to be a massive player for us. We’ve signed him until the end of the season but with the view of a longer term deal before the end (of the campaign).
“We’re mindful the season is only 16 games and we’ve just done a short-term deal in the interim to get it done.”
The first month of Highland League fixtures were announced at the weekend, with champions Brora starting the season at home to Inverurie Locos, followed by trips to Huntly and Nairn County.
Mackay added: “We’re just delighted to see fixtures announced and have a defined date to work towards. It’s nice to get a home game first to unfurl the flag and Inverurie Locos is going to be a tough game, home or away.”