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Strathspey Thistle clinch new sponsorship deal with Aviemore engineering firm

By Gavin Musgrove

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The Jags are celebrating a terrific new financial deal as they gear up for the new Highland League season, due to kick off in a month’s time.

The Grantown club has an extra spring in its step after tying up a three-year agreement with existing sponsor Aviemore-based civil and environmental engineering firm McGowan Ltd.

The backing from boss and ex-Strathspey Thistle player Ross McGowan could not have come at a better time.

Most sports organisations are struggling financially because of the damaging impact of coronavirus, and Jags manager Gordie Nicolson said: “Clubs such as ours can only survive with the generous support of local businesses.

“I know Ross very well – we played football together in our youth – and he runs a very successful business.

“For him to continue his commitment is vitally important for this club.

“What is great is that Ross appreciates the club is travelling in the right direction and he wants to be part of that journey.”

McGowan said it was important for the local economy and community that everyone sticks together during tough times.

He said: “Having played for the club, it’s nice to give something back especially in this time of difficulty.

“There have been big improvements at Strathspey Thistle over the last couple of seasons and it’s a credit to the team members, management staff, and all those behind the scenes that make it all happen. It would be a shame to see that slide so it’s important to keep momentum going.”

Thistle had been due to host League Two side Elgin City on Saturday, but problems with the Seafield Park pitch mean that the friendly has had to be cancelled.

The club has been training at Muir of Ord since resuming after lockdown because of the lack of local facilities due to the pandemic.

But it has not caused major problems, with many of the squad already based in the Inverness area.

In a rearranged friendly, the Jags will now be taking on Forres Thistle at their temporary base this Saturday.

“The facilities attached to schools were closed when we resumed training sessions so we are here until such time that the local pitches become available,” said Nicolson.

The Jags were in action for the first time in six months on Tuesday night when they played Burghead with the game finishing 2-2.

Aidan Hersee and Steven Rennie had given the Grantown side a 2-1 lead before conceding an unfortunate equaliser when the ball hit a divot to find the back of the net.

Nicolson said afterwards: “It was great to be able to give most of the players 90 minutes. The result did not matter; it was more about getting time on the pitch.”

The Jags play Dufftown next on Saturday and they will also host Inverness Caley Thistle the week before the delayed season kicks off on October 17.

Nicolson is expecting to face a strong Caley side: “They have a strong, but not massive, squad due to the Covid-19 situation so I imagine that many of the first team players will be involved.”

The Jags boss does not anticipate any issues with the pitch ahead of their glamour friendly: “It is a small issue that has been corrected, it’s just that it was not going to be ready in time for the visit of Elgin.

“The pitch was in fantastic nick last season – one of the best surfaces in the league last year in my opinion – but it has had to have a bit of remedial work done.”

Fixtures have not yet been released for the new Highland League season.

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