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Brora strike late to lift North of Scotland Cup

A late double from substitute Steven Ross helped Brora Rangers see off the determined challenge of Fort William at Mackessack Park to lift the North of Scotland Cup.

Gavin Morrison put the Cattachs in front early on, only for Scott Davidson to level matters just before the hour mark. Sub Steven Ross made an instant impact when he headed Brora back in front with thirteen minutes remaining, before grabbing his second and Brora's third with time running out.

Colin Williamson completed the scoring in injury time to seal their third success in the competition in the last four seasons.   

North of Scotland Cup Final

Fort William 1-4 Brora Rangers

Fort: Scott Davidson (59)

Brora: Gavin Morrison (9), Steven Ross (77, 87), Colin Williamson (90)

Match preview: North of Scotland Cup Final

Season 2016/17 comes to an end today with the final of the Menzies Distribution North of Scotland Cup between Fort William and Brora Rangers at MacKessack Park.

Brora have won the trophy twice in the last three seasons and will be strong favourites to lift the cup for the fifth time in their history. The Cattachs were given a boost this week, prolific former Ross County hitman Kyle Macleod signing a new two-year deal with the club.

Their march to the final saw them put nine past St. Duthus in the first round, before gaining hard-fought wins over Nairn and Forres in the quarter and semi-finals respectively. 

Fort are still looking for their first success in the competition, they came closest in season 1994/95 when they lost in the final to Lossiemouth. The Lochaber men won through to the final with a comfortable win over Invergordon at Claggan Park, then an excellent victory at improving Rothes in the semi-final.

Transfer news: Rothes continue recruitment drive

Rothes have snapped up former Lossie striker Scott Dunn after he returned from a spell playing in Australia. 

The 23-year-old forward has signed a two-year deal and becomes manager Steven MacDonald’s fourth experienced signing of the close season as he continues his rebuilding job at MacKessack Park.

"He gives me a different option in that he’s good in the air but he’s also quick for a big boy," said MacDonald. He turned down several other Highland League clubs to come to us."

Dunn joins Kris Duncan, Paul Macleod and Steven Fraser as major signings lured to the club since the end of the season.

Elsewhere, Brora Rangers forward Kyle Macleod has signed a two-year deal with the club and Formartine United have snapped up hitman Sam Muirhead from junior side Newburgh Thistle. 

Match previews: Saturday 6th May

Highland League champions Buckie Thistle make the trip south for the SPFL Pyramid play-off second leg against East Kilbride, after the Lowland League title winners fought back from two goals down to claim a draw in a feisty affair at Victoria Park last weekend.

Russell McLean could start for the home side after coming off the bench to grab a late leveller in the first leg, while Buckie are likely to remain without Craig Dorrat, Andrew Skinner and Craig Cowie.

The Semi-Finals of the North of Scotland Cup see Rothes take on Fort William at Mackessack Park and the Moray men will be without the suspended Stephen Rennie. Fort are aiming to lift the cup for the first time in their history, while Rothes' last success came back in season 78/79.

Forres Mechanics travel to face Brora Rangers at Dudgeon Park and boss Charlie Rowley will hope to have the likes of John Cameron, Simon Allan and Alan Pollock available again after they missed the win at Halkirk United. Brora striker Paul Brindle could return from injury as they look to regain a trophy they've won twice in the last three seasons.

Buckie bosses are staying put

Buckie Thistle’s management team have agreed new contracts.

Graeme Stewart, Lewis Mackinnon, Stephen Bruce, Andy Low and Darren Strong have all penned four-year deals.

Thistle recently won the Highland League title and have moved quickly to secure their management team on long-term contracts.

Manager Stewart said: “We are all delighted with our new deals and like most of the current squad we will all be together for the next four seasons.

“We are all young and hungry for more success and are currently working hard to strengthen the squad again for next season.”

Meanwhile, Rothes have signed Kris Duncan from Keith and Paul Macleod from Nairn.

Grant leaves Strathspey

Strathspey manager Brian Grant has stepped down from his position.

Grant's resignation follows that of assistant boss Rab Simpson, who quit his role last week.

Grant claims that both he and Simpson lost the backing of the club's chairman, Donly McLeod.

Grant said: "Although the majority of the committee voted for us to stay, we didn't get the backing of the chairman.

"If we all can't stick together, then something has to give.

"I wish the club all the best. I am disappointed that I have had to take this route."

Strathspey finished bottom of the Highland League last season, two places worse off than they managed in the previous term.

Full Time scores and scorers: Saturday 6th May

SPFL Pyramid Play-Off Second Leg  

East Kilbride 2-1 Buckie Thistle   

East Kilbride: Sean Winter (8), Joao Victoria (23) 

Buckie: David Proctor (og 32) 

Drew Copeland sent off (45+1), Chris Angus sent off (85) 

North of Scotland Cup Semi-Finals 

Brora Rangers 4-1 Forres 

Brora: Kyle Macleod (15, 33, 50), Steven Mackay (67) 

Forres: Charlie Brown (57) 

Rothes 1-2 Fort William 

Rothes: Jack Maley (pen 52) 

Fort: Scott Davidson (10), Adam Porritt (90) 

Two assistant managers step down

Grant Munro has resigned as assistant manager at Rothes due to work and family commitments.

Meanwhile, Rab Simpson has stepped down as assistant boss at Strathspey Thistle.

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Latest Results

06-05-2017 15:00 - North of Scotland Cup Semi-Finals
Brora Rangers 4 : 1 Forres Mechanics
Rothes 1 : 2 Fort William
06-05-2017 15:00 - SPFL Pyramid Playoffs Second Leg
East Kilbride 2 : 1 Buckie Thistle
29-04-2017 15:00 - North of Scotland Cup Quarter-Finals
Nairn County 1 : 3 Brora Rangers
Halkirk United 0 : 3 Forres Mechanics
Golspie Sutherland 0 : 3 Rothes
Fort William 3 : 0 Invergordon
29-04-2017 15:00 - SPFL Pyramid Playoffs First Leg
Buckie Thistle 2 : 2 East Kilbride
22-04-2017 15:00 - North of Scotland Cup First Round
Forres Mechanics 2 : 1 Clachnacuddin
22-04-2017 15:00 - SHFL Week 38
Fraserburgh 2 : 0 Huntly
Rothes 0 : 2 Nairn County
Wick Academy 2 : 2 Formartine United
Buckie Thistle 9 : 0 Strathspey Thistle
Cove Rangers 5 : 0 Lossiemouth
19-04-2017 20:00 - North of Scotland Cup First Round
Rothes 2 : 0 Wick Academy

Press and Journal Highland League 2016-17

Rank Teams Played GD Points
1 Buckie Thistle 34 94 82
2 Cove Rangers 34 79 82
3 Brora Rangers 34 80 81
4 Formartine United 34 35 73
5 Fraserburgh 34 29 63
6 Forres Mechanics 34 21 58
7 Turriff United 34 14 58
8 Wick Academy 34 23 53
9 Inverurie Locos 34 18 50
10 Keith 34 -14 47
11 Clachnacuddin 34 -24 41
12 Lossiemouth 34 -18 38
13 Nairn County 34 -17 34
14 Huntly 34 -43 34
15 Deveronvale 34 -24 30
16 Rothes 34 -69 26
17 Fort William 34 -92 11
18 Strathspey Thistle 34 -92 9

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