Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Clach starlets aiming for Football Times Cup final after two key away wins

Clach starlets aiming for Football Times Cup final after two key away wins

Clachnacuddin A team boss Paul Maclennan stressed his young side will go into Saturday’s Football Times Cup semi-final at St Duthus with bags of belief.

Newcomers to the North Caledonian League set-up this season, the under-20s group are finding their feet and making steady progress.

They have three points from three games so far, with a 2-1 opening day derby loss to Inverness Athletic followed by a sore score – a 7-1 defeat against high-fliers Loch Ness.

However, last weekend, they posted an impressive 5-2 victory at Halkirk United for their first league success.

And their best result of the campaign so far came in the quarter-finals of the Football Times Cup as they won 3-0 at Golspie Sutherland, a side yet to drop one point in the league so far.

To further put these results in context, Halkirk finished third last season, just one place and two points ahead of Golspie.

Clach’s cup semi-final opponents, the Tain Saints, have won three of their first four league fixtures, only losing 2-1 against Loch Ness.

Maclennan relishes tough Saints’ test

Maclennan expects – and welcomes – a strong challenge from their weekend hosts with a final up for grabs.

He said: “I know (manager) Alan Geggan and (assistant boss) Justin Rogers well at St Duthus. They are good football men with a well-drilled team. They have a good blend of experience and youth.

“They started their season off very well and would have been disappointed not to get something out of the Loch Ness game, which I believe was a close game.

“St Duthus will bring their A game. The better the teams are, the more it brings that little bit extra out of our young lads.

“We will go out there without any fear. It’s a cup semi-final and anything can happen.”

Proud of attacking brand of football

Maclennan explained winning at two tough venues so far shows his young group and learning fast.

He said: “We’re making progress. It was disappointing to lose our first two games, but we put that down to acclimatising to the league.

“It was the same when we were in the (Inverness) amateur league. Once the boys got used to it, we went on a run after that (and won the summer title).

“The brand of football we play is progressive, attacking and on the front foot. Everything is fitting in to place.

“Winning away to Golspie in the cup and away to Halkirk in the league shows there is no fear in the boys. We’re quite willing to take these teams on.

“We had a chat at the start of the season, explaining we had no expectation of these guys. We just wanted them to go out and compete. There are more than doing that at the moment and that’s all I can ask for.”

Youth given chance to shine at Clach

And Maclennan reckons the players deserve praise for showing bravery in the manner of their performances, which is taking them on with those two positive outcomes.

He added: “We still have four or five players missing at the moment. In the Golspie game, our oldest player was 19 and, for the Halkirk game, our oldest player was 20.

“We had nine players from both those squads who were playing under-18 football last season. You don’t get a lot of that in the North Caley and it shows we are progressing and giving youth its chance.

“The fact we are playing this attacking style of football and winning games such as those shows they are, in my eyes, ahead in terms of their progress.”

Invergordon and Loch Ness eye final

The other semi showdown sees Invergordon host league leaders Loch Ness, with both ties kicking off at 1.30pm.

These teams met on league business on September 3 when Loch Ness ran out 3-1 victors at Fortrose.

Golspie targeting top league position

With Loch Ness in cup action, Golspie Sutherland will hit top spot in the North Caledonian League if they score maximum points at home to Orkney in the 12.30pm kick-off.

Golspie, who were champions as recently as two years ago, have hit the ground running with five wins from five and a victory would edge them two points clear at the top of the division.

Inverness Athletic can rise as high as third spot should they return from Nairn County with a win, while Thurso and Alness United, who are locked on six points, meet at Sir George’s Park.

Bonar Bridge are the only club yet to register a point and they will aim to change that when they take on their visitors Halkirk, who have won two of their six matches.

Fort William, meanwhile, who have no game this weekend, have appointed interim manager Alan Gray as their permanent boss after he guided the club to two wins from three games after the departure of Chris Baffour. Coach Darren Duncan has been confirmed as Gray’s assistant.