Sutherland and Buckie Ladies Development are both raring to go ahead of the Highlands and Islands League Cup final on Sunday.
The final, which will be played at Station Park in Nairn, will see the league’s top-two come up against each other in the first opportunity to win silverware this season.
On their route to the final, Sutherland seen off Inverness Caley Thistle Development and Brora Rangers, while Buckie beat Clachnacuddin and Orkney.
The league cup final is not unfamiliar to Sutherland, who lifted the trophy last season for the first time.
Their head coach John Smith is coy about the Golspie outfit’s chances this year, having been defeated 4-3 by Buckie in their last league encounter in April.
But he does believe there will be little to split the two teams if Sutherland show up on the day.
Smith said: “It’s the second year that we’ve reached the final – the girls have done well to get there and now we’re looking forward to it.
“Buckie will probably be the favourites, they’ve had a fantastic start to the league.
“They have some good players and play some really good football, so it’s something we’ve had to have a good look at. We’ll try and counter that on the day and hopefully we can play the football that we want to play.
“They’ve got the determination and the ability – it’s just on the day making sure that everything clicks for us.”
Smith hopes that his side can use the incentive of retaining the cup to their advantage on Sunday against Buckie.
He added: “To win the cup two years on the trot would be really something good.
“I will stress to the players that to make two finals is something to be proud of, and then to maybe win two finals – it’s not something that happens all that often.
“I’ll make sure they’re up for it, but I don’t think they’ll need much persuading from me.”
A momentous occasion for Buckie Ladies
This Sunday’s final will be the first Buckie Ladies have played in since the club was formed five years ago.
Buckie’s manager Melissa Smith says it will be a momentous occasion for the club and it’s one they’re all looking forward to, despite some nerves.
She said: “It’s our first final, so we’re making history. It’s going to be a great day for everyone involved at the club.
“We’ve come a long way, we used to get beat like 21-0, so in just a short space of time we’ve really turned it out around.
“We’re all excited for the game, but there is a bit of pressure and nerves there.
“It’s a big deal for us as a club – I’ve told the girls to go out and enjoy it, and let me worry about the pressure.”
In recognition of the rising cost of living and the travel costs faced by supporters in the Highlands, the H&I Cup Final will be FREE ENTRY at Station Park in Nairn on Sunday, with a 2pm kick off.@SutherlandWomen
v @buckie_fc pic.twitter.com/HoITVzaTPK
— Scottish Women’s Football (@ScotWFootball) June 30, 2022
Buckie currently sit atop the Highlands and Islands League, with a maximum 24 points from eight games.
However, Smith knows that her side can’t rely on past performances, but expects them to bring their all on the day.
She added: “Football is a fickle sport and a lot can happen on the day, so I don’t take past performances as any sort of guarantee.
“Hopefully, we will be confident because of the run we’re on, but, for me, Sunday is a fresh day and a fresh 90 minutes – anything can happen.
“But I’ve said to the girls if we can just play our game and do our thing, everyone’s talent will shine through and hopefully we’ll come away with the win.”