NEW under-20s coach Stuart Finnie is relishing the chance to help the club produce home grown players for the first team having taken on his new role last week.
The under-20s go to Alness in the North of Scotland League tonight looking to build on a 3-2 success over Forres Mechanics in their opening fixture of the season.
Finnie said: "We will have a young squad for tonight's game because the first team played last night but it is a good chance for the boys to test themselves."
"I thought we played very well in spells against Forres last week. The passing was pleasing on the eye and you could see from the goals that the build ups were quite good. Sometimes we tried to over pass it though but they are young players, so they will learn in time that sometimes you need to mix it up."
"The experience of Jason Morganti and Marc Macdonald playing last week definitely helped the young lads and they were positive and talked the boys through the game, although hopefully I never see Marc hit a direct free kick again! All in all though, it was a good run out and a pleasure for the boys to finally play on Station Park."
Finnie was assistant manager of Nairn St Ninian for the last two seasons and had looked to take time out from the game this summer. But once the call came to get involved under Ronnie Sharp at Station Park, the urge was too much for the former County youth player who spent many years captaining St Ninian under Sharp's management.
He revealed: "It came about through a conversation with Graeme Macleod and then speaking to Ronnie Sharp."
"You can see all around the place how the community and club have galvanised and have a good spirit. I watched the pre-season games and then the first game against Brora and was really impressed with what Ronnie and Mike Rae (coach) are doing."
"The club has to go down this route now with the youth and it would be great to be able to help develop the youngsters and get them into the first team."
He added: "I just want to get my foot in the door and see how the club works, get to know Ally a bit more, learn his way of thinking and get stuck into training. The main objective is to develop players and have them ready for first team football as that is what the club is now looking to do, whether that be through the under-20s league or going out on loan to St Ninian. I will do my best to ensure that these players give themselves the chance to play Highland League football or if it is to be Junior football."
Finnie admits that he will have to learn about his squad but has already been impressed by several players.
He said: "I did not know an awful lot at first as I only saw one under-20s game last season. I know young Jordan (Macrae) has moved up so he will be a big miss but it is a good chance for him. Matty Macleod is highly-rated and by all accounts, scored a couple of screamers down at Spey Valley. I would imagine we will have (Callum) Ednie back at some point to build up his fitness after injury and he was excellent against Brora then you have Craig Munro at centre half and Callum Grant and Nick Highet, who were both excellent against Forres as well."
Finnie has been working with Ally Munro to prepare the squad for this evening's game against what is expected to be a strong Alness team.
He stated: "Training has gone well so far. We had a chat about a few things from last Monday's game and went over the shape a bit, so hopefully we see a bit more of that tonight."
"It is good to be involved with Ally and Patter (Stephen Grant) and Ally is keen for me to get stuck in and is always asking me if I want to do anything, so I am enjoying it and looking forward to the rest of the season. It is a good bunch of boys as well and there are a few characters, so it definitely makes training a bit more interesting."