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Strathspey Thistle boss dreaming of a Scottish Cup run

By Gavin Musgrove

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Jags boss Gordie Nicolson has his fingers crossed, and hopes that it really will be a case of third time lucky this weekend.

Strathspey Thistle have yet to get their Highland League campaign under way, after Saturday’s home game with Rothes was postponed because the Seafield Park pitch was unplayable due to the snow that arrived a week ago.

The previous weekend the Grantown club had made the long journey to Fort William only for their season’s opener to be called off just ahead of kick-off, as the Claggan Park surface posed a danger to the players.

But things are looking better weatherwise for tomorrow although rain is expected to continue, with the Jags set to host fellow Highland League outfit Buckie Thistle in the William Hill Scottish Cup preliminary round two, for a place in the first round proper of the famous old competition.

Strathspey Thistle manager Gordon Nicolson pictured during his side's 3-2 reverse to Rothes FC in the Highland Football League in February at MacKessack Park. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Strathspey Thistle manager Gordon Nicolson pictured during his side's 3-2 reverse to Rothes FC in the Highland Football League in February at MacKessack Park. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

Nicolson told the Strathy: “I was very disappointed about the game last Saturday not going ahead, but the weather is obviously totally outwith our control.

“We were very keen to get the campaign up and running with the visit of Rothes after the shambles of the previous week, but sadly it wasn’t to be.

“We have been waiting for a competitive return since March, so there is a huge frustration among the players and coaching staff that we have been left idle in the opening two weeks.

“We are now two games behind in the league already, and as we are entering the winter period, I can only see more games being called off.

“However, we must continue to plan for each Saturday, and hope the weather is kind to us.

“We are due to return this week in the Scottish Cup with a home tie against Buckie Thistle.

“They are a team we know well, so it will be a very tough fixture for us.

“Buckie will have ambitions to get a run in the cup, and will be aiming to be challenging for the league, so it will be a big test for us.

“We had a great experience last season, winning the club’s first ever cup game, and that set up an away tie against Stirling Albion, so we would love to put ourselves in contention to repeat that this weekend.”

The Jags won a Scottish Cup game for the first-ever time in the club’s history when they beat Lossiemouth, also of the Highland League, in September, last year, setting up the clash with Scottish League Division Two side Stirling Albion.

Thistle finished the game with 10-men after Chris Innes was sent off, and had to rely on a superb penalty save from keeper Michael MacCallum to seal their historic win.

They went down in the next round with Sean Heaver striking twice in the eighth and 45th minutes for a 2-0 win.

Like the Jags, Buckie Thistle were left without a game at the weekend, with their league match at home to Inverurie Locos also being postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Victoria Park

The other Jags have won their only league game to date in the new-look season, with a 3-2 away win over Wick Academy.

They Moray side finished fifth in the Highland League last season, and have perennially challenged towards the top of the table since claiming a shock title win in 2016/17.

A Strathspey Thistle spokesperson said: “Buckie are always well-supported, and it will be a shame that their supporters will not be here with us as SFA and Highland League Covid pandemic guidelines do not allow away team supporters.”

There will be restrictions in place for home fans at the game itself with an update provided on the club’s website here

Spectators are being advised to buy their tickets for the cup clash in advance if possible rather than at the ground on the day.

They are on sale at The Claymore bar, Grantown Diner, Grantown News, the Royal Fish Bar, the Royal British Legion Strathspey and Grantown Caravan Park.

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