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Break will give Strathspey Thistle chance to regroup after poor run of results

By Tom Ramage

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The Broch's Scott Barbour (left) bagged a quickfire hat-trick with his goals coming either side of half time. Library picture: Eric Cormack.
The Broch's Scott Barbour (left) bagged a quickfire hat-trick with his goals coming either side of half time. Library picture: Eric Cormack.

Strathspey Thistle have a chance to rest and regroup after a season which is turning into one of struggle.

The club has a rare blank weekend in the fixture list.

After an encouraging start under new boss Charlie Brown, the Jags have now lost five in a row with their heaviest defeat of the season coming at the weekend albeit away to unbeaten Highland League leaders Fraserburgh.

The Grantown side went down 7-0 on Saturday in what was a deflating encounter at Bellslea Park.

Thistle chairman Donly McLeod said: “It was awful but we are not despondent.

“That is as tough a challenge as we’re going to face this season.

“We now have some vital extra time to ready ourselves for next Wednesday’s home fixture with Fort William now due to days in hand because of Formartine’s cup duties this weekend. Four or five players are due back, which will make a big difference for us even if some of the boys are still dealing with Covid issues.

“Obviously, as Saturday showed, we are not in Fraserburgh’s league in football or financial terms. They’re a strong club with a big following – they had a packed hospitality room at £60-odd a time on Saturday.

“I’d have them backed as potential champions this season any day.

“It’s been a tough time for us, but even on Saturday the players did not give up.

“They played all the way for Charlie (Brown) and are clearly behind him.”

Jags keeper Michael McCallum pulled off three fine saves which prevented the Broch from getting into double figures on the afternoon.

The chairman believes that better times will come if the players remain dedicated and continue to work hard. “We’re going to soldier on and we will get through these testing times,” he said.

It was certainly “relentless”, as the chairman conceded, on Saturday with the league leaders firing on all cylinders. Just seven minutes in, Grant Campbell slotted home from outside the box and Sean Butcher made it 2-0 with a screamer in the 12th minute.

Campbell’s second came in just the 20th minute and by then the Jags were already looking at damage limitation. The hosts dominated possession and there were precious few chances for the side from Grantown.

Scott Barbour notched the leaders’ fourth on 26 minutes. It only took him seconds after the interval to add his second and he was there to net a rebound on 58 minutes for his hat trick.

The Jags did well to stem the flow and it was not until the 77th minute that Louis Duncan slotted home a seventh to continue the north-east outfit’s superb start to the season.

Strathspey Thistle: Michael MacCallum, Joe Cuthbert, Andrew Skinner, Ashley Ballam, Stephen Rennie, James McShane (c) James Fraser, Cameron Lisle, Kieran Chalmers, Ethan Cairns, Kris Duncan. Subs: Andrew Maclean, Jake Thomson, Jordan Wardrope, Liam McDade, Fraser Russell.

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