RONNIE Sharp is calling for a repeat of the effort and commitment from his team in future matches as he admitted Brora Rangers’ class was too hot for his side to handle.
County battled to contain the free-flowing Cattachs with two late strikes making it look like an easy night for the visitors when in reality, they were made to work for the points which take them up to second spot in the league.
The game seemed to heading for a half-time stalemate until Steven Mackay pounced on a mistake by Nairn goalkeeper James Kendall to put his side in front.
That was a body blow for the hosts with Mackay netting a second six minutes into the second half before late efforts from Nick Ross and Paul Brindle completed a 4-0 Brora success.
Sharp said: “They are a very good team but for effort and commitment, I thought we matched them for the first half.
“We did not have many chances as we just created two or three half-chances but we then made a major mistake before half time to gift them the opening goal and it would made a big difference to us going in at 0-0 instead of 1-0 down – at 0-0 it would have given us more confidence going into the second half but at 1-0 down, we were deflated.”
He added: “We gave away a cheap second goal shortly after half time and you can work as hard as you want but you cannot give a team like Brora a two-goal head-start and try to chase the game down.
“The difference between them and us is the vision and class they have in the last third. It overruns you at times. Out wide, they have (Paul) Brindle and Zander (Sutherland) and they are very hard to pick up with Sid (Steven Mackay) through the middle – the movement is great from them.
“But we worked as hard as we could and I cannot fault my players for that – they gave everything they had. We just made silly mistakes at bad times in the game.”
Sharp felt the opening goal for the visitors demonstrated how any mistake against a side of Brora’s quality is likely to be punished with the concession of a goal.
“I thought we defended really well,” he said. “Up until that point, James had come and punched everything for the goal, he tried to catch it and made the mistake. It is his first season in the league and he has to learn when you step up to this league, you cannot get away with mistakes like that. Maybe in the juniors, you can get away with it but not at this level as teams will just pounce on them.”
The visitors added some gloss to the score line with two goals in the last five minutes as Sharp’s players ran out of steam.
“We got a bit demoralised, especially after the third one went in,” he stated. “The heads went down after the amount of effort they put in. The good thing is that is probably the most effort and commitment we have had in the last four or five games. We matched them fitness-wise but their class showed in the end.”
Sharp is calling on his young players to learn from the experience of pitting themselves against a side laden with the best players from the north of Scotland.
He said: “We had nine in the squad who were 21 or under and there is a lot of pressure on them, with a number of teenagers starting the game. It is a hard learning curve but you have to remember, tonight we are up against the top players from around here. You can tell why they are second in the league table but I cannot fault my boys for their commitment.”