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Jags assistant hopes win will give Thistle players' renewed Highland League belief

By Gavin Musgrove

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Charlie Brown and Robbie Flett who are assisting caretaker boss Mike Rae until the end of the season.
Charlie Brown and Robbie Flett who are assisting caretaker boss Mike Rae until the end of the season.

Travelling Jags fans must have thought it was a case of here we go again after Thistle missed a penalty and a sitter to go in at the interval goalless with Deveronvale.

But the Grantown side showed great character to score three without reply despite playing into a strong wind on Saturday to claim just their second league win of the season.

The win will have boosted morale in the camp and is a good start to the end of season run-in for new caretaker boss Mike Rae and his assistants Charlie Brown and Robbie Flett.

Afterwards, delighted club chairman Donly McLeod hailed the display as the best all season as the Jags moved onto seven points in the Highland League.

They remain rooted at the bottom but have the chance to close the gap further when they host Clach this Saturday at Seafield Park.

Following the loss, Deveronvale boss Craig Stewart reigned describing the club as ‘a mess’ and said there are board members who do not have Vale at heart.

He stressed his decision was nothing to do with the shock loss.

After the goalless first half, Michael McKenzie (57th), Owen Loveland (62nd) and Ross Logan (89th) got the goals for the visitors.

Assistant Brown told the Strathy: “It was a game we felt that we could win and we tried to ensure the boys shared that belief.

“We asked them to take the performance that they put in against Keith the previous Saturday and forget about the Wick game in midweek – these things happen with injuries and so on.

“The boys executed the game plan pretty well.

“They played well from the start and we should have been ahead. Unfortunately Michael MacKenzie missed an open goal but later made amends as did Owen Lovelands who had his penalty saved.”

The two squandered opportunities came within a short space of time after the half-hour.

But the management team was keen to emphasis the positives from the first 45 at the break.

“We managed to pick the lads up at half-time and it was really pleasing to see Michael and Owen both score in the second half,” said Brown.

Ross Logan rounds proceedings off with his late effort. Brown said: “Ross has gone through and slotted the ball under the keeper. It was pleasing for him as he has had some chances – like Michael – and not taken them. If they can keep showing composure in front of goals then I am sure they will score more.”

Looking forward to hosting Clach, Brown said: “We played them early in the season and were 3-0 up at half time but then could only manage a 4-4 draw.”

He also had praise for the defensive solidity. “The players gave everything for the team and cleared their lines well and battled so hard for the second balls.”

McLeod said: “They were unbelievable – that’s the best performance all season by a mile.

“They were excellent and played really well against a strong wind in the second half.

“They got the ball down and played. They were first to every ball and once they took the lead you could see the players’ confidence grow.

“The keeper young Ethan (Rae) did not have much to do apart from at corner kicks but he has fair come on in the past few weeks. He has been excellent.”

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