Written by Nairn County FC April 18th 2018

The club is saddened to hear of the passing of former coach, manager, committee member and groundsman, Mansel Craib. Mansel took over as manager of the club from Malcolm Cowie in January 1985 and is best remembered for leading his team to the third round of the Scottish Cup against all the odds. He also reached the final of the 1985/86 Inverness Cup with a 4-3 victory over Ross County in the quarter finals and a 2-1 success against Inverness Caledonian in the last four before being pipped by Forres Mechanics on penalties in the final, following a 2-2 draw at Kingsmills. The memorable Scottish Cup run of 1985/86 started with a 1-0 home with over Rothes in the first round of the Qualifying Cup before a 1-0 victory over Huntly in the next round secured qualification for the national competition. Dreams of reaching the final of the Qualifying Cup were dashed by Peterhead though, who won 1-0 after extra time in a replay at Station Park after County had recorded a 1-1 away draw in the initial tie. The draw for the first round of the Scottish Cup handed Nairn a bye and Craib's men then lined up against Meadowbank Thistle at Station Park on January 11th. A 1-1 draw meant a replay in Edinburgh two days later where Craib cemented his legendary status at the club by guiding his underdogs to a 2-1 win thanks to goals from Charlie Innes and Dave Penman. Premier Division Dundee were the opponents in front of a bumper crowd at Station Park in round three with the Dark Blues easing their way to a 7-0 victory on a memorable occasion for the home club, the last time they qualified for the Scottish Cup before the Qualifying Cup system was abolished. Mansel left the club in October 1987 to be replaced by his assistant Rab Mulheron but continued to work tirelessly for the club behind the scenes until stepping down in 2000. He continued to serve football in Nairn helping with ground works at the Riverside and Showfield and returned to volunteer and lend his vast experience and knowledge to the groundstaff to the club in 2016. There's will be a minute's silence prior to tonight's home match against Turriff United in memory of Mansel. Everyone at the club extends their condolences to Mansel's family at this time. Graeme Macleod

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