Game: St. Duthus vs. Inverness Athletic (North Caledonian League)
Date: Saturday, November 30th, 2019
Venue: Grant Park, Tain (by the Links)
Weather: Clear day (but wrap up warm!) (2°)
Referee: John Nicolson
Assistant referees: TBC
League leaders St. Duthus refocus their attentions on the Macleod & MacCallum North Caledonian League this coming Saturday with the visit of Inverness Athletic to Grant Park for the first time.
It seems like a long time ago since Inverness last came calling in Tain - in fact it was over a year ago, back in September 2018 when a high flying Athletic won 3-0 at the Links. A lot has changed since then. Saints now have a new home at Grant Park and since moving "across the road", they have experienced an incredible turnaround - to such an extent that they now sit top of the North Caledonian League, while their Inverness opponents sit in a below par 7th position.
Inverness Athletic have gone through a period of transition of their own this season, having parted ways with manager Shane Carling following an indifferent start. Chairman Sandy Stephen and Jason Golabek have assumed the reigns for the time being and so far the duo have added to their squad mainly by taking a handful of Highland League players in on loan, among them Dominick Edwards (Clach), former St. Duthus man Andrew Miller (Strathspey) and Jordan Morrison (Fort William).
Saints manager Stuart Ross is under no illusions that their league position accurately reflects the ability of the individuals in their squad -- and he and his squad are ready to approach the game fully prepared.
"We have to continue the good run we're on if we want remain in the upper reaches of the league. We come into this one on the back of a really good result away to Invergordon. We had to really dig deep to come away with a result from there for a hard earned three points in the cup. We've played Inverness twice and beat them twice, so I expect Sandy and Jason will have their boys bang up for this one and aiming to damage our run. So, we need to be at it from the start and able to match their determination."
For Saints, the team news is a mixture of ins and outs. Ross Tokely and Scott Miller are still unavailable, while Craig Munro continues to recover from the calf injury he sustained last week. The good news for Saints though is that striker Ben Bruce is back in contention having recovered from injury. He joins goalkeeper Johnny Allan and Robbie Murray who are also set to return having missed last week's Football Times Cup opener.
The game kicks off at Grant Park at 1pm.