Glenn Main rolled back the years to spearhead our charge into the Second Round of this season’s Scottish Cup as he rounded off today’s 4-0 win over Strathspey Thistle.
It was a vintage display from the legendary Main, whose legs must have received an energy boost when he was joined in attack for the last half-an-hour by Ciaran Young, who put in another impressive showing from the bench, as the two boys from John Street killed off the Jags’ Hampden dreams.
Another club legend – Conor Gethins – set us on our way with the opener in the first half as he moved on to 179 Nairn County goals with the scorer of our second at the other end of the scale as youngster Rory Williamson opened his account for his home town club.
Liam Shewan stepped off the bench to put us further ahead before Main smashed home our fourth – both assisted by Young.
John Treasurer, Tom Maclennan and Rory Williamson all returned to the starting line-up, which meant the teams were:
Nairn County – Dylan Maclean, Ben Williamson, Cohen Ramsay, Adam Porritt, Ryan Fyffe, John Treasurer, Rory Williamson (Dylan Mackenzie 59), Tom Maclennan, Conor Gethins (Ciaran Young 62), Scott Davidson (Liam Shewan 47), Glenn Main. Subs unused: Angus Dey, Kenny McKenzie, Sam Gordon, Will Counsell (gk).
Strathspey Thistle – Michael MacCallum, Andrew Skinner, James McShane, Ethan Cairns, Liam McDade (Fraser Russell 64), Kris Duncan, Cameron Lisle (Joe Cuthbert 64), Andrew Maclean (James Fraser 80), Ashley Ballam, Kieran Chalmers, Stephen Rennie. Subs unused: Jordan Wardrope, Christopher Innes, Robert Donaldson (gk).
Strathspey looked to start sharply and on seven minutes, Stephen Rennie had the time to take a touch 22 yards from goal but he guided his left-footed shot just past the left-hand post.
We settled though and entered a dominant spell as the midway point of the first half approached. A great, slipped pass by Adam Porritt put Scott Davidson in behind the visiting defence but he was denied by a last-gasp sliding tackle on 20 minutes.
A minute later, it was the woodwork that was to deny Davidson as he made a great diagonal run in from the right that was picked out by Tom Maclennan’s through pass. The striker wrapped his left foot around the ball but it unluckily came back out off the far post.
Porritt then saw his effort well blocked by Michael MacCallum in the Strathspey goal on 22 minutes before the ball broke out to Cohen Ramsay to cross from the left. He found Conor Gethins at the far post but the striker’s blast was repelled by MacCallum.
We continued to pile on the pressure and on 26 minutes, John Treasurer forayed forward and pulled the ball back from the by-line. It was them skipped over by Gethins, as he let it run through to the on-rushing Porritt at the edge of the box but he saw his whipped effort parried over the bar by MacCallum. The resulting corner kick was headed clear to Ryan Fyffe at the edge of the box and his effort flew inches past the post.
A goal was coming and it arrived on the half-hour. Rory Williamson’s ball forward from the halfway line wide on the left was hopeful more than anything else but good grappling by Davidson managed to help it on to Glenn Main, who in turn also managed to poke it through to the unmarked Gethins as he was clattered by the defender. Play continued with Irishman inside the box to the right of goal and once he had taken a touch to set himself, there was only going to be one outcome as he drilled a low, angled effort under MacCallum to open the scoring.
Main was involved as we threatened again on 39 minutes. He controlled a long ball towards the right corner flag before feeding the unmarked Davidson at the right edge of the box but his left-footed effort went over the crossbar.
We doubled our lead four minutes into the second half. Tom Maclennan delivered a low ball across the face of the 18-yard box and with the Strathspey defence retreating, Rory Williamson was allowed to pop up unmarked 15 yards out at the far post before taking a touch to control and finishing crisply under MacCallum for his first senior goal.
Substitute Ciaran Young played a short corner from the right to Ben Williamson on 63 minutes and the on-loan full back’s whipped delivery found the head of another substitute, Liam Shewan at the far post but his effort was straight at MacCallum.
Shewan then played an inviting low ball in from the left three minutes later but Dylan Mackenzie was shrugged off it as he charged in at the front post.
We continued to crank up the pressure in the hunt for the killer third goal and on 70 minutes, Shewan’s delivery from the left was teed up for Main by Young but his bending effort from just inside the box cracked off the left-hand post.
Young then intercepted a slack square pass along the Strathspey back line to race in on goal but under pressure from a back-tracking defender, he saw his shot excellently saved by MacCallum, who dived to his right to make a fine stop.
We made sure of our place in tomorrow’s second round draw when we made it three with 10 minutes remaining. Young ran on to Mackenzie’s ball into the right channel and could have taken the shot on from the angle himself but showed great awareness to unselfishly roll a pass across goal for Shewan to tap in his second goal of the season.
We were not finished there though and we made it four on 82 minutes. Andrew Skinner attempted to shepherd the ball out of play by the left corner flag but he was bullied out of it by Young, who drove inside and pulled the ball back for Glenn Main to step on to and wrap his left foot around from 18 yards with his effort nestling nicely inside the near post.