On Saturday we begin our 99th Highland League campaign as we take on Brora Rangers at Station Park.
Following our seventh-place finish last season there is plenty of belief around the club that we can push to finish higher again this season.
Here is what you need to know ahead of the new season:
We kick-off our season at home to Brora Rangers on Saturday 29th July before travelling to Aberdeen the following week to take on Banks O’Dee at Spain Park. We will play 34 league games this season, playing each of the 17 other teams, home and away.
The furthest we will travel is to Brechin City (Saturday 19th August) and our shortest journey will be along the A96 to Forres Mechanics (Saturday 23rd March).
We will be taking part in three cup competitions this season.
GPH Merchant Builders Highland League Cup – we have been drawn against Wick Academy in the preliminary round. This will take place on Sunday 12th August in Wick. Should we win that game, we will then travel to Keith at the end of August in the first round. We last won the Highland League Cup in the 2010/11 season.
North of Scotland Cup – we face Lossiemouth in the first round of the North of Scotland Cup. This will be held at Station Park on Wednesday 30th August. If we beat Lossiemouth, we will travel to the winner of Forres Mechanics v Strathspey Thistle. We last won the North of Scotland Cup in 2012/13 season.
Scottish Gas Scottish Cup – the big one. We start in the first round of the Scottish Cup in September. The ambition is to reach the fourth round for the first time in 67 years, where we could face a Premiership side.
Clachnacuddin v Nairn County: Saturday 21st October
Nairn County v Forres Mechanics: Saturday 18th November
Nairn County v Clachnacuddin: Saturday 2nd March
Forres Mechanics v Nairn County: Saturday 23rd March
We made Lewis Munro’s (GK) loan from Inverness Caledonian Thistle permanent. We also signed Jamie Carnihan (Def) and Aaron Nicolson (Att) from Inverness.
North Caledonian League Player of the Year Ben Kelly (Att) joined us from Invergordon.
We have also signed Ross County players, George Robetson (Att) and Andrew MacLeod (Mid) on loan.
Youth team players Tyler Eadie (Mid) and Owen MacDonald (Att) signed first-team contracts over the summer too.
— Nairn County FC (@NairnCounty) June 29, 2023
Calum Howarth (Forres Mechanics), Seamus McConaghy (Strathspey Thistle), Rory Williamson (Nairn St Ninian), Nathan Grant (Nairn St Ninian), Lewis Mitchell and Gordon McNab.
At the end of last season loan players Matthew Strachan (Inverness Caledonian Thistle), Kenny MacInnes (Elgin City) and Aidan Cruickshank (Elgin City) all returned to their parent clubs.
Captain Fraser Dingwall is currently out injured after sustaining an injury in pre-season. He is expected back in August.
Winger Andrew Greig is a long-term injury absentee.
We played six pre-season games, winning three and losing three against a mixture of opposition.
Western Isles Island Games Association 1 – 3 Nairn County
Nairn County 1 – 3 Ross County
Nairn St Ninian 1 – 4 Nairn County
Nairn County 0 – 6 Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Inverkeithing Hillfield Swifts 4 -1 Nairn County
Loch Ness 2 – 5 Nairn County
Steven Mackay: “We are all looking forward to the start of the new season on Saturday. The players have been worked hard during pre-season and after six weeks or so of training and friendlies, it will be good to get back to it for real.
We have added eight new signings to the squad who are young and hungry players and want to come here and make a name for themselves at the club.
I am sure we will see a good turnout from our fans on Saturday and at the rest of our games this season. It is great for the players to play in front of big crowds of our own supporters and even at our friendlies in Stornoway and Inverkeithing, the Nairn fans were there which was really encouraging to see. Hopefully, the support will continue to grow and we can give everyone something to cheer about.
I would like to thank everyone for their support on behalf of the management team and the players and we will be doing everything we can to make sure it is a successful season.”
If you haven’t been to any of our first pre-season games, the first thing you will notice is the big welcome to Nairn County branding on the toilet block as you enter the ground. This also includes a list of club honours and records.
Work is ongoing with our Tea Hut with an expansion due for completion during August. As part of this work, the Club Secretary’s office is moving to the other side of the main stand (Queen’s Park end).
We are working on upgrading our PA system, meaning you should be able to hear the winning half-time draw ticket number and music a lot better in more areas of the ground.
Some additional work has been done to our club shop including the installation of shelves and a till unit.
And for those that like this sort of thing, we have new yellow and black goal nets.
Injecting a little bit more colour into Station Park.
New yellow and black goal nets for the season ahead.
— Nairn County FC (@NairnCounty) June 27, 2023
We have some new mugs, bottle openers and coasters as well as golf markers and caps. Over the next couple of weeks, we will also have some new fan t-shirts and additional merchandise.
The usual selection of shirts and training wear including hoodies and gilets is still available. They are also available online here.
Murray Travel continue to be the main club and front of shirt sponsor. Check them out if you are booking a holiday.
Via our partnership with Sidecrystal, Mikeysline feature on the back of our home and away shirts. Local Nairn charity TeamHamish have a specially designed third kit.
Scotsafe Services are our warm-up wear sponsor, Scott Owens Joinery, Kitchen & Bathrooms are our training wear sponsor.
We also have lots of other generous local businesses partnering with the club this season including but not limited to Ashers Bakery, Westerlea Hotel, The 1645 Inn, Peter Gow, Inverness Sign Centre, Tradeway and The Classroom Bistro.
For those in Nairn and close-by, coming along to Station Park and supporting the team is the obvious answer. Purchasing a season ticket is even better.
If you can’t make as many games as you would like, we have several different ways you can support us:
Become a Club 1914 member – from as little as £10 a month, you can become a Nairn County member and receive various benefits and rewards. Our Club 1914 membership has raised valuable funds for the club since it began in 2020. Join here.
Play our 50/50 Monthly Prize Draw – costing less than £1 a month, you can be in with the chance of winning one of our three-monthly prizes (£150, £100 or £50). It is easy to join online here and once you are in, you don’t have to do anything else.
Buy Club Merchandise – all profits from club merchandise sales are re-invested back into the club.
Sponsor a Player – we only have a handful of players left to sponsor. Home sponsorship is £100 + VAT and Away/Third sponsorship is £100 + VAT. Email email@example.com for more information.
Own a business? – check out our commercial brochure here. Sponsorship and advertising begins with taking out an advertising board all the way up to event and community initiative sponsorship.
We are counting down the days now to our season opener against Brora Rangers on Saturday. And we have a small handful of players still requiring sponsorship ahead of the new campaign. pic.twitter.com/Ffm1cb1zhh
— Nairn County FC (@NairnCounty) July 24, 2023
We have various events planned directly through the club or via the Fans’ Ground Improvement Fund. Some things to mark in the diary:
GIF Curry & Quiz Night at the Royal Bengal – September 2023
NCFC Sporting Dinner – 1st March 2024
TeamHamish Charity Day – Saturday 16th March 2024 (Nairn County v Fraserburgh)
Nairn County Golf Day – TBC 2024
Nairn County Ladies Day – TBC
Thank you to everyone for their support and we will hopefully see you at Station Park this season. Come on Nairn!