A DISRUPTED preparation failed to prevent Nairn County from taking all three points from last night's trip to Fort William, writes Graeme Macleod.
Manager Les Fridge saw his squad arrive at Claggan Park with just 45 minutes to spare before kick-off but that did not stop on-fire striker Robbie Duncanson from bagging a superb hat-trick to earn the visitors the win.
Fridge revealed: "We left at half 4 with it being a midweek game, so players had to take time off work or come straight from work. Some of the guys even had to drive down because they were not finished work in time to catch the bus and then we were caught in traffic on the way there."
"That is not ideal but it was a good job well done and we were by far the better side. They did not put us under a lot of pressure - they hit the outside of the post once and Calum Antell made one save but we created a lot of chances and fair play to RD (Duncanson) with his hat trick."
"They have narrowed the pitch, which makes the game very tight. In the second half especially though, we were able to get a bit more width into the game with Alan Pollock and Sam Urquhart becoming more involved."
Duncanson's treble took his tally for the season to 16. If he can repeat the feat at Grant Street Park on Saturday then he will top his total for the previous campaign.
Fridge added: "He can always score more! Being serious, it is a great return from him. He got 18 last season and is on 16 now for this season, which is great for a player in his position. He has been playing in a deeper role since the turn of the year and likes to get on the ball. He reads the game really well and he is an intelligent player in that sense."
County end their season with an away derby at Clachnacuddin, where victory will see them climb two places in the final league table and top last year's points tally.
Fridge stated: "It would have been better for the cup final to have been the last game of the season, like it used to be. We had a bit of a downer after the final, which was understandable after the amount of effort that we put in and to lose any final on penalties is never nice."
"You could see that we were on a bit of a downer afterwards but we were unlucky against Formartine, probably should have won the game against Forres and won this one."
"It is a local derby on Saturday and a win puts them up above Deveronvale. They have had a disappointing season, so they will want to finish on a high but from our point of view, a win to go sixth would be a nice way to finish."