Match Preview: Orkney v St Duthus

Game: Orkney FC v St Duthus FC (Macleod & MacCallum North Caledonian League)
Date: Saturday, March 24th, 2018
Kick-off: 12.30pm
Venue: Kirkwall Grammar School 3G, Orkney
Referee: Gavin K. Leask
Assistants: Steven Stott & Ivan Leslie

THE SAINTS will play their first game since winning the North Caledonian Cup tomorrow -- and the circumstances don't come much tougher, as they travel across the Pentland Firth to meet title contenders Orkney in the first of three remaining Macleod & MacCallum North Caledonian League matches.

Games between the Orcadians and St Duthus have produced some entertaining encounters over the past two seasons. Most notably, the teams met in the Jock Mackay Cup Final with penalties required to split the sides. Orkney have taken the spoils at the Links in league action, but St Duthus have enjoyed victory in the reverse fixture, having beaten the Islanders at Kirkwall last season, becoming the first side to do so in 22 months.

While the Saints will be looking to continue the momentum following their cup win, it is certainly to be noted that Orkney are a formidable opponent, one which has claimed a cup of their own already this season, having defeated the Saints' semi final conquerers Lewis & Harris in the Football Times Cup Final last year.

Manager Stuart Ross is hoping that his in-form St Duthus side can overcome the odds once again and take three points back to the mainland.

"We're really looking forward to our trip up to Orkney. We always receive a good welcome, and last time around in particular made for a really memorable day, recording a deserved win in a competitive game at a tough venue. We know it'll be tough tomorrow again, but we can go into it knowing all the pressure is on Orkney. It's up to us to play party poopers as they go for the title."

The Saints will have to cope with a number of absences for the trip, with Barry Kenny, Lewis Ross, Ewan Ross and Craig Ross all unavailable and dropping out of the cup final team, while Adam MacDonald remains on the injured list. Martyn Farquhar continues to miss out due to work commitments, alongside Sam Beeston and Will Ross. Joe Sutherland and Paul Cowie are expected to return to action though, with a trialist forward also available for consideration.

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