Written by Nairn County FC February 4th 2017

STUART Finnie was proud of the showing his under-20s side put in at Thurso in the Jock Mackay Cup despite going out of the competition by the odd goal in three. Veteran midfielder Nigel Mackenzie – with years of Highland League experience from his Wick Academy days under his belt – opened the scoring on 13 minutes with the ball deflecting past County young lions goalkeeper, Fraser Wilkie. The visitors – playing into the wind and rain in the first half – found themselves two down with Mackenzie doubling his tally on 25 minutes. But Nairn rallied after the break and on 65 minutes, a Matty Macleod corner was headed up into the air by Craig Munro, with the goalkeeper spilling the ball over the line as it dropped. This allowed County to grow in stature as they pressed on for a leveller but Munro – who was thrown up front in the latter stages – passed up Nairn's best chance late on, with the experienced hosts relieved to hear the final whistle. Finnie said: "The boys were an absolute credit to the club all day long. They were magnificent in the second half of the match and I cannot fault their commitment." "We were a bit overawed to start with battling into the conditions on a heavy pitch but that was understandable and we stuck at it." "We then came out in the second half with a nothing-to-lose attitude and got stuck in and in the end, we were unlucky not to force the tie to penalties." Finnie took a squad with him that comprised of all teenagers bar one player, half of whom are yet to experience any form of involvement with the first team on a match day. He added: "It was a great experience for the boys to play against an adult team in this competition and they all took a lot out of not just the game but the whole day." "The club treated the tie the way they would a first team away trip in terms of everything behind the scenes and the boys' conduct was what you expect at first team level when you are looking for everyone to be a good ambassador for the club. It gave them a flavour of what they can expect if they work hard and make it at the club in terms of how well they were treated." "The hospitality in Thurso was great as well and they were delighted that we participated in the competition. Hopefully, it is something we can expand on next season." Nairn County – Wilkie, Tweedie, Grant (Gordon 80), Munro, Ednie, Barton, Alexander, Fraser, Macleod, MacBean, Smith. Subs unused: Wheeler, Cuthbert, Colliar. Graeme Macleod

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