The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
Brora Rangers go into their Scottish Cup third round meeting with Morton brimming with confidence after netting seven goals without reply for the second Saturday in a row.
Cattachs manager Steven Mackay was very proud of his players’ ruthless display against Turriff United at The Haughs in the first round of the Highland League Cup.
He said: “We’re seeing the benefits of strong competition for places in our recent performances, although it’s not so nice having to leave players out of the squad completely.
“I took off Gavin Morrison in the first half as a precaution as he’d picked up a wee knock and in his place Dale Gillespie scored a hat-trick. Andrew Macrae played really well and scored two goals but I substituted him at half-time as he is cup-tied for the Scottish Cup so it gives someone else an opportunity.
“We have nothing to lose against a Championship side.
“We will look to express ourselves against Morton and our defence is very solid.
“We’ve done well before in the national competition.”
Turriff were a goal down after only five minutes.
Fraser Hobday made a great save to deny Macrae but from the resulting corner, left-back Ally MacDonald angled his left-foot shot from 10 yards into the corner of the net.
Macrae beat the offside trap 12 minutes later to chase a through ball and stroke beyond Hobday from the edge of the box to double the visitors’ lead.
Two goals in the closing five minutes of the half meant the tie was all over.
The pace of Bjorn Wagenaar on the left gave Macrae an easy finish from close range before Martin MacLean scored with a shot which appeared to take a deflection before flying into the roof of the net.
Brora’s fifth arrived in 66 minutes when Wagenaar was upended in the box by Owen Kinsella and Gillespie fired home from the penalty spot.
Gillespie netted again after 78 minutes with a header at the near post from another corner on the right.
A foul in the home box produced the second penalty of the day, allowing Gillespie to step up and complete his hat-trick.
Turriff boss Kris Hunter felt his team’s opponents were far too good on the day.
He said: “It’s very difficult to play Brora when they’re in that form.
“They are the best we’ve played this season.
“The biggest compliment I can make is about their appetite. They never gave us any time on the ball even when leading by a few.
“Physically we were bullied. It was men against boys, but my players worked hard.”