Written by Nairn County FC July 8th 2016

CARETAKER manager Andy Naismith felt he was vindicated in taking on such a challenging match for the first outing of pre-season after watching his team's battling performance against Inverness CT, writes Graeme Macleod. The stand-in boss threw his players in at the deep end for their maiden match of the summer against Premiership opposition and saw them contain their illustrious visitors for the first 77 minutes. That was when Richie Foran's men opened the scoring and a quick-fire double swiftly followed to give the Caley Jags a 3-0 success which failed to tell the full story of the match. Naismith said: "What was most pleasing for me was that we looked organised. We have not had a lot of time to work on the shape of the team but we had a plan of how we wanted to shape up and try to frustrate them. We want to try to force them to play down the outside of the park and we did that really well in the first half – Liam Polworth was getting on the ball in the middle and causing us one or two problems but we managed to stop that happening." "In the second half, they had a completely different team out, which meant we had to organise things differently. The attitude of the players was very good and they put in a lot of effort. You saw that at the end when we started to run out of steam, which was unfortunate." "We had a plan, we stuck to it and every player did really well. We also managed to give everyone in the squad some time on the park as well, which was pleasing." "We got a lot out of it and that is the main thing in pre-season. The score did not reflect our performance but it is all about work-rate at this stage that is what we are looking for." The performance of goalkeeper Dylan Maclean in his first start for Nairn was one of the high points for the hosts. Naismith said: "Dylan Maclean put in a really good performance in goals for us and as soon as we changed the keepers, we let in the first goal but that was nothing to do with the change of Sam (Maclean) coming on – it was just a very, very good goal." "Callum Donaldson has come back and has really helped. The preparation for goalkeepers is a bit different to outfield players, so it is great that he has been able to get involved and help out." Everyone at Station Park has been impacted by the circumstances of the last few months, not least the players. Naismith added: "We are where we are and that is all we can think about. We will have to work with what we have and hope that we can keep the players that we have at the club. You can see the work that they put in tonight." "We have lost almost half a team's worth of forward and attacking players and we had a lot of midfield and defensive players involved tonight who put a shift in." "We knew that coming into the game. Someone said to me coming into the game that we should not have taken it on against such strong opposition given the current circumstances but you can only gauge yourself against better players and I think everyone did well." "They had a lot of the ball but we worked hard when they were in possession and when we had it, you could see that they were working hard to win it back as well, which made for a good game." Naismith handed substitute appearances to trialists Calum Riddell and Nick Highet. He revealed: "We were missing a few players tonight – Adam (Naismith) could not make it through work commitments and Alan Pollock is on honeymoon. Gary Kerr – one of our other trialists – could not make it either." "It is an opportunity for everyone but there is no God-given right to come into the club and play. If you show that you can play for the shirt then we will give you a chance." Naismith saw himself thrust into the manager's position on a temporary basis following the resignation of Les Fridge at the end of May. "I just have to get on with it. I have been involved in coaching for a long time, so I know what needs done. The main thing is the players and the club. There are good people who have left the club and good people still at the club. We just have to get on with it and work with the hand we have been dealt." Graeme Macleod

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