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Skinner's Predictions Panel (2013-14) 13th: Keith

As the Predictions Panel series begins to cross into the meaty mid-table section, expect to see more disagreement and surprise over the coming few days. We are now at 13th place, and like yesterday three quarters of the panel have elected for the same team. Is http://www.hflhub.co.uk reporter Andy Skinner one of them? 

13th Place: Keith

Last Season: Prediction: 10th Actual: 14th     

P 34 W 12 D 7 L 15 GD -9 Pts 43 

Post Season Positives: 
Some very neat recruitment work by Darren Still. As one would expect most of the talk has been about the following category, but it's important to recognise there have been some shrewd additions too, and all of whom have a good level of Highland League experience. 

Post Season Negatives: 
For the Maroons, this category speaks for itself. The loss of Cammy Keith leaves a major void up front, as it would for any team losing a player worth simply as many goals as he is. There are ways they can counteract the loss of Cammy, but there's no doubt it's a huge task. Keith also need to make Kynoch Park much more of a fortress again, Stilly will undoubtedly be expecting an improvement on their five home wins from last season. 

Key Man: 
Murray McCulloch. A player who came to the club with title-winning experience at Cove prior to Keith's League Cup success in May, Murray's graft and energy in the middle of the park will prove invaluable to the side. He will very much be one to watch as he continues to grow into the side he joined halfway through last season. 

Prediction 2013-2014: 
While I don't think losing Cammy will bog Keith down as such, it may well be the case they need to take time to readapt their style of attacking in order to compliment the forwards they have. As it stands they don't have the same level of predatory instinct up front, though not many ever did while Cammy was at the club. There is every chance Keith could seriously push on from their League Cup win against Locos in May, but like rivals Huntly yesterday I think they may just fall short of the top-half as the team continues to develop. 13th 

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Locos helpless to prevent Rossco retirement

Inverurie Loco Works have announced that veteran midfielder Craig Ross has hung up his boots with immediate effect.

Ross made his debut for Locos in 1998 having been signed from Middlefield Boys club, and became a mainstay for the Garioch side in their rise from the juniors into the Highland League in 2001.

He went on to become an integral part of a Locos team that won two Qualifying Cups, two Highland League Cups and an Aberdeenshire Shield in the naughties, and was rewarded with a testimonial fixture against Aberdeen in 2008.

A statement by Locos’ co-managers Kenny Coull and Scott Buchan – both former team-mates of Rossco at the club – broke the news while paying tribute to the midfielder.

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Skinner's Predictions Panel (2013-14) 14th: Huntly

The Predictions' Panel arrives at 14th place this evening, with three quarters of the pundits turning towards Christie Park for their choice, starting with http://www.hflhub.co.uk reporter Andy Skinner. But who has deviated?

14th Place: Huntly 

Last Season: Prediction: 13th Actual: 13th     

P 34 W 14 D 3 L 17 GD -2 Pts 45   

Post Season Positives: 
Huntly have tied down the bulk of their existing squad on fresh terms. Dave McGinlay has re-established a sense of continuity which was badly needed upon his return to the club two years ago. That looks to have been mirrored behind the scenes with the appointment of a new board at Christie Park who appear to have established a good level of dialogue with the fans over the summer months. 

Post Season Negatives: 
The sheer competitiveness of the league appears to make it difficult for Huntly to compete where they dearly want to be. Nothing disastrous whatsoever, but with a somewhat youthful squad they perhaps lack the cutting edge to challenge for a top-half finish.     

Key Man: 
Michael Hart. Bringing in a player of his experience towards the end of the season was a huge boost for Huntly, particularly given how fresh he still is from playing Scottish Premiership football. A player whose leadership and organisation at the back will make a big difference.     

Prediction 2013-2014: 
Huntly have plenty areas of promise, but need to show more consistency in order to climb back into the top-half. However the rewards for retaining the core of their squad are bound to come in the future as was seen with Forres last year, as the togetherness and stability of the team will pay eventual dividends. But in similar fashion, Huntly need to be patient for a little while longer. 14th 

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Skinner's Predictions Panel - 16th: Lossiemouth

The pre-season predictions series continues with http://www.hflhub.co.uk reporter Andy Skinner outlining his choices, before the team of pundits offer their thoughts. 

16th Place: Lossiemouth  

Last Season: Prediction: 15th Actual: 17th   

P 34 W 3 D 1 L 30 GD -73 Pts 10 

Post Season Positives:
A very similar scenario to Frani More at Rothes. Stevie Dunn has now had a few months to cut his teeth into management and will have a good feel for the task that lies ahead. Lossie have recruited some promising young players who have already impressed at fellow Highland League clubs. 

Post Season Negatives: 
Last season was disappointing for Lossie, and the rebuilding job will continue. Lossie lost a lot of influential players last summer, and the transition from that is still an ongoing process. Given the competitiveness of their geographical catchment area you can see just how hard a job that is. 

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Skinner's Predictions Panel (2013-14): 15th Strathspey Thistle

Of the clubs covered so far, Strathspey Thistle were the first who exceeded their predicted finish in 2012-13 as they came out with a club record 15th place finish in their 20th anniversary. http://www.hflhub.co.uk reporter Andy Skinner considers what lies ahead for the Jags prior to the remaider of the panel offering their thoughts on who will end up in 15th place. 

15th Place: Strathspey Thistle 

Last Season: Prediction: 17th Actual: 15th    

P 34 W 5 D 0 L 29 GD -89 Pts 15  

Post Season Positives: 
Strathspey will approach the new season with momentum in their stride after the success of last season. The two Brians have done an excellent job at Seafield Park in putting together a very hard-working squad. They have added some experience to the frontline in the form of Iain Brooks, while on the other side of the coin they have youth such as Josh Peters and James McShane breaking into a side that last season finally claimed the long-sought after first Highland League away win. 

Post Season Negatives: 
It's difficult to pinpoint many negatives given Thistle's achievements last year, although they have lost a handful of players in the close season. The Jags will want to ensure they don't become victims of their own success by letting their expectation levels increase too much too soon. Brian has said all along it's a long-term project and that will continue.  

Key Man: 
Matteusz Bobrowski. The centre-forward is a dependable figure for the Jags and a big goal threat at that.    

Prediction 2013-2014: 
Thistle came on leaps and bounds last season, and to finish 15th was a very impressive achievement while smashing their record points tally. Steady progression is now the aim as they continually look to raise their Highland League stock. Off-field, attention has almost invariably been on making the ground improvements required for the desired SFA licence. The prediction is that Strathspey will play Scottish Cup football in 2014-15 following another season of promise. 15th

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Skinner's Predictions Panel - 17th: Rothes

17th Place: Rothes

Last Season: Prediction: 16th Actual: 16th

P 34 W 4 D 2 L 28 GD -97 Pts 14

Post-season positives:
Frani More has stamped his vision on Rothes with a number of new signings from varying backgrounds - from trusted former Speysiders keeper Ricky Horne to players from the juniors, with a couple of loan signings too. Rothes had a somewhat disrupted season last year given the managerial change, and Frani will be glad to get the chance to build his own team starting this summer.

Post-Season negatives:
Possibly balancing the post season positives, but the big question is how quickly can the new players gel? As with any large-scale overhaul, time must be afforded to Frani to fully implement his changes. 

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Pre-Season Friendlies Round-Up: 22-23 July 2013 / Formartine land Calder

Formartine United have completed the signing of former Elgin City and Inverness Caley Thistle goalkeeper John Calder on a two-year contract.

The player announced his move on his Facebook page at the weekend, prior to Monday's entertaining 3-3 draw against Dyce Juniors in which Mark Smith, Callum Bagshaw and Daniel Park were on target to give United a 3-1 lead before Dyce hit back.

On the same night Inverurie Locos beat Maud 2-0 courtesy of two Neil Gauld goals. Fraserburgh - who have extended the contract of Neil Main for another two years - beat Cruden Bay 2-1 and a 2-0 win for Keith away to Ellon United.

Tuesday's action saw Huntly fight back through two Andrzej Kleczkowski goals to draw 2-2 with Islavale, with Forres Mechanics defeating Deveronside 6-0. PMAC North Region First Division champions New Elgin battled out a 2-2 draw with Strathspey Thistle.

Ryan Green Testimonial

Not the result Forres were hoping for but a great occasion for Ryan and his family.  Forres Mechanics v Elgin City with a nice interview with Ryan at the end.

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League Table

Rank Teams Played Points Current form
1 Cove Rangers 16 44 WWDWW
2 Inverurie Locos 20 44 DWWWW
3 Fraserburgh 17 41 WLWWW
4 Brora Rangers 16 37 WLWWW
5 Huntly 19 35 WDWLW
6 Buckie Thistle 17 32 LWLWD
7 Formartine United 17 31 WWLWL
8 Rothes 18 30 DLDWW
9 Forres Mechanics 17 30 WWWWW
10 Deveronvale 18 28 LWWWW
11 Turriff United 18 24 DLLLL
12 Clachnacuddin 19 22 LLWDW
13 Nairn County 16 22 WLLLL
14 Wick Academy 15 16 LWLLD
15 Keith 18 8 LLWDL
16 Lossiemouth 19 5 LLLLL
17 Strathspey Thistle 18 3 LLLLL
18 Fort William 16 1 LLLLL

Recent Results

18-11-2017 15:00 - Scottish Cup Third Round
Formartine United 1 : 0 Forfar Athletic
Stranraer 0 : 1 Brora Rangers
Spartans 1 : 2 Fraserburgh
Airdrieonians 2 : 3 Cove Rangers
Buckie Thistle 2 : 3 Brechin City
18-11-2017 15:00 - SHFL Week 17
Rothes 9 : 1 Fort William
Turriff United 1 : 2 Huntly
Keith 0 : 3 Inverurie Locos
Lossiemouth 2 : 3 Clachnacuddin
15-11-2017 20:00 - MM Aberdeenshire Shield First Round
Deveronvale 4 : 0 Aberdeen University
11-11-2017 15:00 - SHFL Week 16
Inverurie Locos 3 : 1 Formartine United
Nairn County 2 : 4 Forres Mechanics
Strathspey Thistle 0 : 5 Rothes
Brora Rangers 7 : 0 Lossiemouth
Turriff United 1 : 3 Deveronvale
Clachnacuddin 1 : 1 Buckie Thistle
Huntly 1 : 3 Cove Rangers
08-11-2017 20:00 - SHFL Week 15
Lossiemouth 0 : 3 Buckie Thistle

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