NAIRN County Football Club are delighted to confirm the recent addition of four new players to the under-20s squad, writes Graeme Macleod.
Full back Calum Ednie, winger Dominic Edwards, goalkeeper Ryan Macleod and midfielder Jack Dickson have all linked up with Ali Munro's squad.
Ednie and Macleod (both 18) come in from Clachnacuddin and have featured for County's under-20s already this season. Meanwhile, 17-year-old midfielder Dickson played for Nairn's under-17s but work commitments delayed his under-20s debut until last night, when he put in a powerful performance in the middle of the park.
New Zealander Edwards (20) arrives at the club having been recommended by a former top Highland League striker, originally from Nairn.
Under-20s head coach Ali Munro revealed: "Dominic played for a team in New Zealand and was spotted by Raymond Mackintosh, the former Caley striker from Nairn who also played with County for a while."
"He recommended Dom to Les (Fridge, first team manager) and he came over and impressed while he was a trialist. Because he came from New Zealand, we had to wait for international clearance and we have now been able to get that sorted."
Munro added: "Jack Dickson has been with me in the under-17s for the last two years after being at Ross County and I rate him very highly. He has been away at college and with his work for most of this season but I was delighted to have him involved last night and he showed what a gifted player he can be."
"Ryan Macleod played in a couple of cup finals against us when I took the under-17s and in the last one, he was the man of the match after making five or six outstanding saves. He is a good goalkeeper and I was delighted to get both him and Calum Ednie, who is another very good footballer and has shown that in the games he has played for us. This is their first season at Nairn and they have both fitted in very well."
Munro saw his side draw 2-2 last night with a Lossiemouth side featuring experienced Highland League players Chris Ross, Jordan Main and Ryan Green to give them a record of three wins and two draws from their North of Scotland League campaign so far.
He said: "We are pleased with how it is going. We have not been able to field a settled side through one thing or another and have had to make changes for each game but the pleasing thing for me is that apart from the first game against Alness, we have only used the young players and have not needed to rely on first team players to get results."
"I was pleased with last night's result considering the experience they had in their team whereas our team was made up of guys like Jordan Macrae, Matty Macleod and Jack Dickson, who are still only 17 with Craig Munro having just turned 18 while our oldest player was Dominic, at just 20. It was a great learning curve for them all playing against some experienced campaigners."
"Our whole team from last night is still young enough to play in the under-20s next season apart from Dominic and we have a number of players in the under-17s who are ready to make the step up in the summer."
"Not only that but I am pleased with the tempo the boys play at. Bringing Sharpie (Ronnie Sharp) in has been a real bonus for us too and I think he is enjoying himself."
The under-20s have three remaining North of Scotland League fixtures with home and away games against Clachnacuddin and a trip to Forres Mechanics.
Munro added: "We are hoping to sort out a couple of friendlies against some junior teams to see how the boys handle playing against physically stronger opposition. They have to keep playing football because the last thing we want now after playing two games in three weeks is another long layoff."