Game: St. Duthus vs. Halkirk United (North Caledonian League)
Date: Saturday, January 25th, 2020
Venue: Grant Park, Tain
Weather: Cloudy (8°)
Referee: Molly Alexander
Assistant referees: Andy Grant and David Ross
Football Times Cup holders St. Duthus will look forward to a winners' welcome in Tain on Rabbie Burns Day - as they get back to league business with a game against visiting Halkirk United.
But despite basking in the glory of cup success, Saints won't need any reminding that they haven't picked up a win in the league since November 30th, having dropped six important points to Invergordon and Golspie - and Saturday's game is the first of six must-win games. St. Duthus have played and defeated Halkirk United twice already this season and shall no doubt be the odds-on favourites to take a win.
Manager Stuart Ross already has his mind refocussed on the league campaign and Saints' immediate need to rediscover their league form.
"We welcome a much improved Halkirk to Grant Park tomorrow and we are under no illusions that they will be a pushover. We've been watching their results and they have improved greatly since they last visited here in September. After the euphoria of the cup win last week, it'll be good to get back on track league wise. It hasn't been lost on us that prior to the cup final we had two poor results to teams who are in and around us in the league, so we must be looking to get back on track starting with tomorrow's game."
Little is known about the Anglers' squad which has been rejuvenated under recently appointed manager Ewan McElroy. They have made some notable acquisitions, including the loan signing of Wick Academy forward Kuba Koziol, who has been a handful for North Caledonian League defences in past playing for Thurso.
It is unlikely that the Saints squad will see many changes to the cup winning side last week, aside from goalscorer Liam Rostock who looks doubtful due to an ankle knock sustained in training. Reece Paterson shall also be unavailable due to work commitments.
The action all gets underway at 1pm on Saturday at Grant Park (down by the Links). As always, a raffle shall be held on the day and hot food and drinks will be on sale.