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Weekend Preview Saturday 3rd August 2013

On the eve of the new league season we round up the weekend's team news from around the grounds. Remember to stay with through the rest of the day to see our pundits' remaining two predictions, including their top tips to claim the elusive title that Cove Rangers brought home last season. 

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Skinner's Predictions Panel (2013-14) 3rd: Formartine United

Over the course of the day, the four pundits will outline their predictions for the top three. We begin with reporter Andy Skinner who casts his attention for third place towards Pitmedden. 

3rd Place: Formartine United 

Last Season: Prediction: 8th Actual: 2nd     

P 34 W 25 D  L 6 GD 67 Pts 78   

Post Season Positives:  
Steve Paterson hasn't dwelled on coming second best in May's end of season drama, and was quick to put the gloves on and make changes to the team. In Cammy Keith's case, the Maroons' loss really is Formartine's gain, and an all-firing strikeforce will be worth a lot of points to United. Gary Clark will bring some spice to the midfield, while John Calder brings competition for places between the sticks.    

Post Season Negatives: 
Formartine came short in a handful of games that were worth a lot of pride to the club last season. The last game of the season was one example, but there was also an Aberdeenshire Cup Final defeat on penalties and a poor performance at Clach in the Scottish Cup. Going into the new season they need a sharper cutting edge when there is a lot at stake. Could Saturday's Ramsdens Cup win against East Stirling be an indication they're headed that way?   

Key Man: 
Craig McKeown. He earned huge plaudits for his performances in his first season after joining from Dundee, and will be paramount to United again this year. After handing him the captaincy, it's clear Pele views his defensive leadership and organisation as hugely important to Formartine's chances this season. 

Prediction 2013-2014: 
Formartine are out to prove a point and the signing of Cammy really underlines how determined they are. They will hope to continue their Ramsdens Cup run against Elgin, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them do well in the Scottish Cup, as well as regional cup competitions where I think their wait for a trophy will finally come to an end. As the fight to win the league intensifies, I think they will be right in the mix but they will be praying for a good winter after the backlog they faced last season. I also think Kevin Webster will be quite a loss for them, a player who has the ability to create goals for himself and others all over the team. A cup success while finishing 3rd

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Skinner's Predictions Panel (2013-14) 4th: Cove Rangers

It's taken us until 4th place, but we now have our first full set of four differing choices. The disagreement begins with reporter Andy Skinner who has opted for last season's winners, Cove Rangers. 

4th Place: Cove Rangers  

Last Season: Prediction: 5th Actual: 1st     

P 34 W 25 D 5 L 4 GD 75 Pts 80   

Post Season Positives: 
Coming into the first game of the season knowing their last competitive outing won them the Highland League title is a huge morale surge for Kevin Tindal's men. For the next year Cove will be referred to as 'Highland League champions' in reports and news articles, and every time people at the club see that it will rekindle great memories of a remarkable comeback in the second half of the season.   

Post Season Negatives: 
A couple of mainstays of the title-winning side, and indeed the Cove team of the past few years, have left.  Goalkeeper Stuart McKenzie and captain Roddy Black have sought pastures new and will leave a big void, as will Danny Milne and Murray McCulloch who left mid-season.   

Key Man: 
Jordan Leyden. He's proven to be an excellent addition since stepping up from junior football, and he makes his presence felt with bursts of pace that leave defenders trailing.  

Prediction 2013-2014: 
Defending the league title is exceedingly difficult, and what Buckie did in 2011 was a tremendous achievement when you consider how strong the league is in its current state. It generally takes time to adapt to having a new goalkeeper between the sticks, it's such a vital part of the team but for reasons owing to communication and understanding built up over a period of time. Cove will be up there, and while they are more than capable of defending their title, I think they will be overtaken by a top three who have been starved of Highland League success (with just one title shared between them) and each of whom is in as strong a position as ever. 4th 

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Skinner's Predictions Panel (2013-14) 6th: Fraserburgh

While reporter Andy Skinner is the only pundit tipping Fraserburgh to finish 6th for the third season running, the remaining pundits have looked further north with two in agreement.

6th Place: Fraserburgh  

Last Season: Prediction: 3rd Actual: 6th     

P 34 W 18 D 5 L 11 GD 36 Pts 59   

Post Season Positives: 
The three constants maintained by Fraserburgh last season following on from Kris Hunter's first in charge: sixth place, silverware, and Scott Barbour scooping Young Player of the Year. They have retained the same squad who achieved that, and the stability of the team looks very strong as a result, and have plenty momentum on their side having finished the season exceptionally well. 

Post Season Negatives: 
The fine line between what was and what could have been if games had been seen out. On a few occasions last season, Fraserburgh were left to curse the fact they relinquished a winning position. 

Key Man: 
Scott Barbour. When people outside of the Highland League ask which exciting prospects are coming through, he's the first one I'll list every time. His energy in and around the penalty box coupled with the technical ability he has brings real danger to defenders. I look forward to seeing his continued development this season.    

Prediction 2013-2014: 
Fraserburgh haven't tweaked their squad at all which is a major positive. A settled team is always an advantage, and the Broch have most definitely earned the right to be considered as a team in the mix for top spot. While I can sense that their time is coming, I think the sides I've predicted to be the top five are stronger placed to maintain a consistent run of form throughout the season. That said, if the Broch can mirror their end of season run they will certainly be in contention. For now, it's a third consecutive 6th 

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Skinner's Predictions Panel (2013-14) 5th: Brora Rangers

There are still plenty of predictions to get through before the big kick-off on Saturday, and we break into the top five now with reporter Andy Skinner tipping Brora Rangers to record an improved finish. 

5th Place: Brora Rangers 

Last Season: Prediction: 1st Actual: 8th   

P 34 W 17 D 4 L 13 GD 31 Pts 55   

Post Season Positives: 
An assured finish to the season, and a real sense that the squad are subscribing to what Davie Kirkwood is trying to achieve at Dudgeon Park. A very pleasing team to watch in attack and some very solid additions throughout the entire team. The signing of Joe Malin has captured much attention, he's a keeper who has  

Post Season Negatives: 
Like a few teams, there really isn't a lot negative to say after a superb end to last season. Brora will be looking to improve upon their form at the start of the season, which they will be confident of given the disruption of the management change mid-season. Brora did eventually find momentum, but it will need to come much earlier if they are to challenge.   

Key Man: 
Martin Maclean. Amidst all the experienced heads in the side, it's important to also focus on the players who are benefitting from the presence of Tokely, Hart and Golabek etc in the team. Maclean sees a huge amount of the ball when Brora attack due to his energy and hunger to get on the ball and create for the likes of Zander Sutherland and Liam Baxter. His runs into the box will cause many sides problems this season, and is a player who has really come on since signing from Lewis outfit Back. 

Prediction 2013-2014: 
A very good side to watch, a lot of Davie's plans were beginning to become clear as we moved into the latter stages of the season. He has recruited well himself although there are still some very talented players who remain from the side Andy MacLeod before him had built. I think they will progress to finish in the top five this season. 5th

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North of Scotland Cup: 31st July

Rothes 1: Sean McIntosh (55) Lossiemouth 3: Liam Archibald (42) Darren Bailey (78) Scott Wilson (88)

Lossiemouth struck twice within the last twelve minutes to book a second round trip to Forres Mechanics.

 There was an early chance for the hosts when Matthew Davidson played a one-two with Anthony Ross and from the return ball Davidson was denied by Ricky Horne on his Rothes return who kept the ball out with a low save.

A rare break upfield from Rothes should’ve resulted in a goal. A great through ball from Calum McIntosh to Lewis Forbes presented the forward with a scoring chance but Errol Watson still managed to save after being caught off his line. Forbes would then win the ball back and crossed for Sean McIntosh fifteen yards out who forced Watson into another save on the volley. Sean McIntosh came close again moments later volleying over from close range.

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Newsround 1st August 2013: Buckie, Clach, Huntly and Broch add / Fox departs PRP

Buckie Thistle have signed Elgin City forward Fraser Forbes on a three-month loan deal.

Forbes hit the net twice in the Jags' 6-0 win against Buckie Rovers on Saturday.

With Forbes arriving, Buckie have made striker Aaron Shand available for transfer.

Shand joined from Newmachar United last summer, and was on target 19 times in his debut Highland League season last term.

Thistle have also made young pair Stuart Hodge and Ben Stewart available for loan, with the latter having spent time with Buckie Rovers last season.

Clachnacuddin signed former Fort William defender Ryan MacDonald in time for the player to be on the bench for last night's 5-4 victory over Halkirk in the AJG Parcels North of Scotland Cup.

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Formartine land Elgin home tie in Ramsdens Cup

Formartine United will once again face SPFL League Two opposition in the Ramsdens Cup, after the Second Round draw handed them a home tie against former Highland League outfit Elgin City.

Steve Paterson will face his former side on either Tuesday 20th August or Wednesday 21st August.

League Table

Rank Teams Played Points Current form
1 Cove Rangers 22 62 WWWWW
2 Fraserburgh 24 55 WDWWD
3 Inverurie Locos 25 54 LWDWW
4 Formartine United 25 52 WWLWW
5 Forres Mechanics 24 45 WWLWL
6 Buckie Thistle 26 43 DWLDL
7 Brora Rangers 21 41 WLDLL
8 Rothes 25 40 LLWWW
9 Huntly 26 39 LLLDL
10 Deveronvale 25 35 LWLLW
11 Nairn County 23 35 WDWWL
12 Clachnacuddin 26 33 WDDLW
13 Wick Academy 20 27 DWWWD
14 Turriff United 22 24 LLLLL
15 Lossiemouth 26 14 WLLWL
16 Keith 27 11 LLLLL
17 Strathspey Thistle 24 10 LDWLW
18 Fort William 21 2 LLLLD

Recent Results

21-02-2018 20:00 - SHFL Week 29
Clachnacuddin 3 : 2 Brora Rangers
Nairn County 2 : 4 Rothes
Formartine United 4 : 1 Forres Mechanics
Huntly 1 : 7 Inverurie Locos
Buckie Thistle 1 : 2 Strathspey Thistle
Keith 0 : 2 Deveronvale
20-02-2018 20:00 - MM Aberdeenshire Shield Final
Banks O' Dee 2 : 5 Cove Rangers
17-02-2018 15:00 - SHFL Week 29
Lossiemouth 4 : 6 Rothes
Formartine United 3 : 2 Brora Rangers
Nairn County 1 : 0 Strathspey Thistle
Forres Mechanics 3 : 0 Deveronvale
Wick Academy 1 : 1 Huntly
Fraserburgh 2 : 2 Buckie Thistle
Inverurie Locos 3 : 0 Clachnacuddin
Keith 0 : 5 Cove Rangers
10-02-2018 15:00 - Scottish Cup Fifth Round
Kilmarnock 4 : 0 Brora Rangers
Cove Rangers 1 : 3 Falkirk
10-02-2018 15:00 - Breedon Highland League Cup First Round
Buckie Thistle 0 : 3 Keith

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