A workmanlike performance from St. Duthus saw them canter to victory against Bunillidh Thistle for the second time this season to record another three points in the Macleod & MacCallum North Caledonian League.
There were a number of changes made to the team who cruised past Bonar Bridge last weekend. Ali Matheson made his first appearance of the season in goal with Stephen Campbell and John Allan both unavailable. Outfield, Will Ross, Cammy Mackintosh and Ross Tokely came in for Adam Allan, Robbie Murray (who dropped to the bench) and Reece Paterson. Top scorer Ben Bruce was participating in the SAMH Stomp event for the Scottish Association for Mental Health and this left a space for Liam Rostock to step back into the starting eleven.
It took Saints just three minutes to take the lead. The goal came about as a result of a corner won by Mikey Rae on the left side, and top class delivery from Craig Munro left Ross Tokely with the simple task of nodding the ball past Cameron Yuill to make it 1-0.
It could have been 2-0 just moments later when Liam Rostock burst clear but after opting to square the ball to Stefan MacRitchie, the latter's eventual shot was screwed just wide of the post.
The second arrived on 17 minutes and it was Rostock who got his reward for a busy opening period. Latching on to a long clearance, Rostock held off his man well before hitting a right foot strike from the edge of the box past Yuill.
It was 3-0 ten minutes later, Stefan MacRitchie doing well to pick out Mikey Rae down the left with an incisive through ball and Rae made no mistake with a left foot shot sent high into the net beyond the reach of Yuill.
With ten minutes of the half remaining, Jon Campbell squandered an opportunity to add to his tally for the season when he connected with a Will Ross cross deep into the box, but the midfield man's first time volley curled over the bar. Campbell was thwarted again moments later, this time by Yuill who got down low to block an effort from close range before steering the ball to safety.
The fourth came six minutes before the break. Munro was in the thick of it again starting with his delivery of a corner which was cleared to the edge of the eighteen yard box before it made its way back to him to send back into a packed area. Quick to react, Liam Rostock was able to turn and volley straight at Yuill, but the Bunillidh keeper was powerless to prevent Charlie Macdonald from slotting home the rebound.
Half time: St. Duthus 4 Bunillidh Thistle 0
Saints wasted no time in trying to add to their commanding first half lead on 47 minutes from a Liam Rostock throw, as Charlie MacDonald almost notched his second with a header inside the area which was caught by Yuill at close range.
It was Rostock who grabbed the brace on 50 minutes though, scoring with a downward header after getting on the end of a pinpoint cross from Will Ross. At 5-0 the game was dead and buried and within the next fifteen minutes Saints took the opportunity to introduce all five subs to the game.
With over an hour gone, Rae nearly added to his tally getting on the end of another Munro corner, but his diving headed effort was directed just over.
With twenty minutes remaining Alan Geegan and Scott Miller combined to finish off a good move on the counter attack. Breaking down the right, Geegan played the ball across the face of goal and Miller hit the chance first time and found the bottom corner - but his effort was ruled out for offside.
At the other end, Ali Matheson remained rarely troubled and will be especially pleased to have recorded just his second clean sheet between the sticks for Saints since signing last summer. There were a few chances in the late stages of the game as Finlay Macleod, Miller and Rae each came close, but ultimately there was no further scoring to be had.
Full time: St. Duthus 5 Bunillidh Thistle 0
Ali Matheson, Will Ross (Alan Geegan 66), Mikey Rae, John Skinner (Finlay Macleod 54), Charlie Macdonald, Jon Campbell (Robbie Murray 64), Stefan MacRitchie (Trialist 54), Cammy Mackintosh, Liam Rostock (Scott Miller 64), Craig Munro, Ross Tokely
Cameron Yuill, Mark Mackenzie (bkd 86), Joe Macnamara, Niall Grant (Ally MacRae 30), Jack Corbett, Duncan Davidson, Paul Gair (Jordan Hailes 68), Sean Scott, Robbie Sutherland, Craig Sutherland, Gary Mackenzie
Sub not used: Dean Cowie
Referee: Gavin Dearie
Assistant referees: Ian Ross & Callum Dey