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Brora Rangers manager Steven Mackay excited for challenge of SPFL sides Ross County and Inverness Caley Thistle as Cattachs kick off pre-season ahead of 2024/25 Highland League campaign

By Andrew Henderson

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Brora Rangers manager Steven Mackay says games against Highland giants Ross County and Inverness Caledonian Thistle are occasions he loves to be involved in as the Cattachs prepare to kick of their pre-season schedule this weekend.

Mackay will lead his team out for the first time since the end of the 2023/24 campaign when Ross County come calling at Dudgeon Park tomorrow afternoon.

Caley Thistle will then make the journey north on Tuesday evening for Brora’s second friendly ahead of the Highland League kick off on July 27.

The friendlies will also mark Steven Mackay's first games in charge since returning to Dudgeon Park as first team manager. Picture: Brora Rangers
The friendlies will also mark Steven Mackay's first games in charge since returning to Dudgeon Park as first team manager. Picture: Brora Rangers

While both of the SPFL sides will provide stern opposition for the Cattachs, Mackay would not have it any other way as Brora have the opportunity to test themselves against the best the Highlands have to offer.

“These are great games for us, and these are the pre-season games we want,” he explained.

“We couldn’t have asked for a tougher opening game on Saturday than against Don Cowie and his team, but we want to be going up against Premiership opposition.

“Their movement will be good, they will be fit and good on the ball, so it provides a really good test for us.

“It’s a good yardstick to see where we are, and what we still need to work on over the course of the next few weeks to make sure we are ready come the 27th.

“I’m looking forward to both games. Caley have already played a couple of games against Clach and Nairn, so they will already have minutes in their legs.

“They will provide equally as stern a test as Ross County, but these are the games we want to be involved in so we are very much looking forward to them.”

With the opening Highland League weekend of the season already approaching on the horizon, Mackay is also hoping that player higher-tier opposition in preparation for competitive games will help his side hit the ground running against Turriff United.

“We always want pre-season to set us up,” he added.

“Results aren’t a huge focal point, it’s more about fitness and shape, and players being clear on how we want to play as a team and set up so that come the first league game, you hit the ground running.

“We know how competitive the Highland League is, and we’ve got a challenging enough start – we don’t want to be three or four weeks in before we’ve found our feet.

“We have to use these games now and over the coming weeks to make sure that when the season does kick off, we’re at a level to perform and everyone is ready fitness-wise and tactically.”

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