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Highland League: EVERY game previewed as Buckie Thistle face Brora Rangers test and Brechin City tackle Keith

We look ahead to Wednesday's four fixtures.

Buckie Thistle's Joe McCabe is preparing to take on Brora Rangers.
Buckie Thistle's Joe McCabe is preparing to take on Brora Rangers.

Joe McCabe insists Buckie Thistle must do whatever it takes to keep their Breedon Highland League title challenge on track.

The Jags are set to face Brora Rangers tomorrow night with the game meant to be played at Victoria Park.

But with Tuesday’s heavy rain and the potential for more on Wednesday making a postponement a possibility, alternative venues are being looked at to host the fixture.

A Highland League champion needs to be declared by April 20. With Buckie already having fixtures scheduled for this Saturday and Monday, Wednesday and Saturday next week, pushing this match back to Thursday in a bid to get it played has also been mooted.

Whatever happens with scheduling Thistle defender McCabe says they can’t afford to drop points in their final five games.

Buckie are six points behind leaders Brechin City with two games in hand and also trail by 11 on goal difference.

McCabe, said: “Every game until the end of the season is a must-win.

“You’d take a 1-0 in every game now with fortuitous goals, deflections, bobbles, whatever it takes.

“At this stage it’s about trying to get the points on the board.

“It’s a tough run, but it’s the hand we’ve been dealt and we’ll crack on.”

When it comes to fortuitous goals McCabe chipped in with one in Monday’s 3-0 win at Keith.

His attempted cross from wide on the right found the net and he added: “I could claim I saw the keeper off his line and all that, but I just got lucky.

“I tried to get the ball in the box early and as soon as I hit it I was like ‘that’s got a chance’.

“Luckily it went in, it was nice to score.”

Cattachs could have championship

Brora also have title contenders Fraserburgh and Brechin to play next week so could have a big say in who ends up as champions.

But for Cattachs player-manager Ally MacDonald his main concern is trying to improve on a poor record against the top five this term.

Brora are sixth in the table and have taken only two points from a possible 18 against the clubs above them, a record which includes a 5-1 loss to Buckie on February 14.

MacDonald said: “We could have say in who wins the league with our games.

“But that’s not really our concern, our focus is on ourselves and trying to improve in certain areas.

Brora Rangers boss Ally MacDonald, left.

“We want to pick up as many points as we can between now and the end of the season.

“But we are aware that if we can get results then it will have an impact on the outcome of the league somewhere along the line.

“However, the main thing for us is that Buckie, Fraserburgh and Brechin have all beaten us in the league this season so we want to make up for that.

“We let ourselves down in the last game against Buckie.

“It’s motivation for me to try to right that wrong because it’s a result that still hurts and I’m sure it’s the same for the boys.”

Leaders Brechin can look back

Lenny Wilson insists Brechin City can’t dwell on recent disappointments as they try to keep their title fate in their own hands.

The Breedon Highland League leaders are set to face Keith at Kynoch Park tomorrow night, provided the pitch is playable following the recent rain.

City are three points clear of Fraserburgh at the top of the table and six ahead of Buckie Thistle, who have two games in hand.

The Hedgemen are also seven and 11 goals ahead of their challengers on goal difference, but have been frustrated by recent results which have prevented them being in a stronger position to retain the title.

In their last six outings Brechin have lost to Fraserburgh and Buckie and drawn with Forres Mechanics.

Goalkeeper Wilson, 27, said: “I think the frustration for us is that if we’d been at the levels we expect of ourselves in the last month or so then the league could be won.

“But you have to enjoy the pressure that comes at this stage. It’s not often you get the chance to be involved in a title race like this.

Brechin goalkeeper Lenny Wilson.

“If you can’t enjoy it then you shouldn’t be playing, I’m looking forward to seeing how things go and I’ll enjoy it even more if we get over the line.

“Nothing’s going to be handed to us, we’re going to have to win three games and score a few goals to make sure we get there.

“If you’d said at the start of the season if we had three games to win to more than likely win the league we’d have taken that.

“It’s in our hands so we just need to focus on ourselves and doing our jobs.”

Robertson looks to respond

Meanwhile, Keith’s 10-game unbeaten run ended on Monday with a 3-0 defeat against Buckie.

But Maroons co-captain Ryan Robertson hopes that doesn’t dent their confidence.

Keith also have the Jags to play again and Robertson is aware they can have a say in who wins the league.

The 32-year-old defender added: “It would be fantastic if we could take something from this game.

Ryan Robertson, left, in action for Keith.

“We think we’ve got a part to play in where the title ends up, we’ve still got Buckie to play again as well.

“We didn’t show it on Monday, but we do believe on our day we’re capable of taking points off of anybody.

“With Brechin and then Buckie again next week we’d like to think we can have a say in what happens.

“Getting a result against Brechin would be massive for the club and that’s what we’re looking to do.”

News from around the Highland League

Elsewhere, Clachnacuddin are in action for the first time since March 30 when Inverurie Locos visit Grant Street Park tomorrow.

The Lilywhites are missing James Anderson, Martin MacKinnon, Kieran Chalmers and Calum Black.

The Railwaymen are aiming to get back to winning ways after losses to Keith and Deveronvale, but will be without Paul Coutts, Thomas Reid and Demilade Yunus.

Fifth-placed Formartine United welcome Wick Academy to North Lodge Park tomorrow.

Rhys Thomas, Daniel Park and Johnny Crawford are out for the Pitmedden side, but Aaron Norris and Adam Emslie return.

For the long trip south the Scorries travel without Richard Macadie, Mark Macadie, Alan Hughes, Sean Campbell, Owen Rendall, Conor Farquhar and Matthew Robertson.