North Caledonian League champions Loch Ness cut the gap on leaders Invergordon to three points with a game to spare before Saturday’s top-two meeting.
Goals from Jake Lockett and Allan MacPhee earned Shane Carling’s team a 2-0 win against Inverness Athletic at Fortrose.
The game was delayed due to a knee injury to Athletic captain Ryan Macleod.
Inverness later reported that Macleod was seen by A&E doctors, who confirmed there was no break or ligament damage.
Their message on X added: “He has been sent home to begin his long road to recovery in a splint and is also now sporting a set of crutches.
“Massive thank you to our own first aiders and for one of our old coaches, Donnie Hossack, for taking Cloudy to A&E.”
UPDATE ON CLOUDY
A wee update on our Captain Ryan Macleod after today’s knee injury.
Ryan was seen very quickly by the Doctors at A&E who confirmed there was no break and no ligament damage, which is a relief.
— Inverness Athletic Football Club (@InvernessAthFC) February 10, 2024
The match also saw Loch Ness retain the DJ Macphee Memorial Trophy, a prize created in memory of the former player of both clubs, Donald Macphee, who died in 2021.
The Alness United v Orkney and Halkirk United v Fort William league fixtures were postponed due to waterlogged pitches.
Early goals put Invergordon through
There were three quarter-final ties in the North Caledonian Cup, and holders Invergordon advanced thanks to a 2-0 win at St Duthus.
Blair Morrison opened the scoring after 11 minutes and Callum Murray made it 2-0 just 10 minutes later.
The Tain Saints could not find a goal to offer themselves a chance and the visitors got through unscathed.
Full time from a cold, wet and windy Grant Park:
St Duthus 0 Invergordon 2
All the best to Invergordon in the next round.
— St Duthus Football Club (@StDuthusFC) February 10, 2024
Golspie see off well-drilled Bonar
Andrew Banks’ Golspie Sutherland have now won eight successive games since he returned to the club as they were 4-1 North Caledonian Cup winners at home to Bonar Bridge.
The Migdale team, who are second bottom of the league, trailed just 1-0 at half-time, with Graham Macnab’s 15th-minute goal splitting the sides.
Robbie Murray made it 2-0 for Golspie on 53 minutes, but Shadi Ali soon halved the deficit.
Goals from Miller Mackay and Robbie Sutherland in the final five minutes took Golspie over the finish line and into the semis.
— Clach Reserves (@ClachReserves) February 10, 2024
Tough cup-tie for nine-man Thurso
Nine-man Thurso were no match for Clachnacuddin reserves, who ran out 4-1 winners in their North Caledonian Cup tie at the Highland Football Academy, Dingwall.
Struan Coli got the Merkinchers off and running with a goal after eight minutes and Sean Reid-Nicol and Ryan Walker goals stretched the scoreline to 3-0 by the break.
First half red cards for Liam Bain and Michael Steven made the task a tall order for the league’s basement team.
Kai Reid netted Clach’s final goal with a few minutes to go before a stoppage-time goal from Conor Trueman was the only consolation on a poor day for the Vikings.