NAIRN County won through to the second round of the William Hill Scottish Cup with a 5-1 dismantling of Selkirk at Station Park and it was a victory that manager Les Fridge felt his side thoroughly deserved, writes Graeme Macleod.
The boss saw his team fall behind on 17 minutes but County were level again before the break and went on to outclass their Lowland League opponents after half time.
Fridge said: “We were worthy winners. It was disappointing to find ourselves 1-0 down against the run of play – we had a free kick on the edge of their box, Gezza (Conor Gethins) hit the wall with it and all of a sudden we found ourselves under pressure. We gave away a corner and Andrew Skinner did not clear properly at the front post, which allowed their boy to stick it in the net and we were 1-0 down.
“The manner in which we lost the goal was disappointing because we were in control of the ball and were then caught on the break. Even with the corner, we should have cleared our lines a bit better.”
He added: “It was a good move and a good finish to get us level with Gezza teeing up Alan Pollock but I thought we could have been three or four up by half time with the number of chances we created and did not take and we were beginning to wonder if it was going to be one of those days.
“I had a wee go at them at half time and I thought we did really well in the second half and played some good football. We started to do things quicker and sharper and we upped the tempo a wee bit.
“It is not about the performance in the cup games – it is about the result because getting through is the main thing but I thought we played really well in the second half and scored some good goals.”
It was another inspired showing from Alan Pollock, with the midfielder reveling his more advanced role having played as a wing back for the majority of his time at Station Park prior to this season.
He grabbed a double to bring him on to three goals in two games after netting against his former club Clachnacuddin last weekend.
Fridge added: “He is doing well where he is playing since we tweaked the system. He still has to be aware defensively, which he is and he is learning and getting better all of the time. He gives us a good attacking option on that side.”
Only a game of ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ stood between Pollock and his hat trick! The midfielder and Conor Gethins could not agree on who would take a free kick and when the Irish striker won, he duly stepped up to wrap the ball around the wall and into the net to put Nairn 2-1 in front.
Fridge commented: “I do not know what the two of them were doing before the free kick to be honest, I think they were in a world of their own! But fair play to Gezza – he hit the free kick with a wee bit of a bounce in front of the goalie to make it awkward for him and in it went. That allowed us to make a good start to the second half and we stepped on from there.”
Sam Urquhart made a big impact from the bench after coming on with just 13 minutes left to bag a brace which ensured County of their place in round two.
Fridge added: “You saw the difference it made at that stage of the game putting on Sam Urquhart with that bit of pace and energy. We also had Kenny McKenzie and Ross Naismith going on from the bench and they are three quick players who are good on the ball and capable of hurting teams.”
The manager now turns his attention to the draw for round two and insists he is not fussed who County are drawn against.
He explained: “It is about being in the hat for the next round, although we did play some really good football and scored five goals, so we have to be happy and cannot be too critical. If we can get a home tie in the draw then that would be nice but just being there is the main thing for us.”