Brora Rangers still the best team in the Highland League, says new permanent manager Craig Campbell
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Craig Campbell believes restoring confidence and self-belief at Brora Rangers was key to recovery after “huge negativity” greeted early season upsets.
The former Ross County, Peterhead and Elgin City striker was appointed as the club’s permanent manager late on Wednesday evening after becoming caretaker in August following Steven Mackay’s resignation.
Neil Macdonald and Josh Meekings, the latter in a player-coaching role, will assist him.
Under Campbell’s guidance, Brora have not only steadied the ship but set sail again in the league campaign with a run of dominant victories, including the crucial recent 2–0 defeat of title challengers Buckie Thistle.
Appointed following a penalty kicks North of Scotland Cup victory over Lossiemouth this week, Campbell can now look to the future under new chairman Scott Mackay.
He said: “It went on for a few weeks, but that suited myself and it suited the club, who got to see what myself and Neil Macdonald were like.
“The boys have reacted really well to everything we’ve asked of them. It has been positive all-round and we’re just looking to the future now.
“There was a huge amount of negativity after a couple of bad results against Fraserburgh and Formartine United, but I just said to the boys that they didn’t turn into bad players overnight.
“Confidence is huge in football and it had taken a little bit of a dent. It was up to us, after Steven had left, to lift the spirits and get the boys back to believing in what they could do.
“There’s no doubting the ability we have in our squad and I still believe we have the best squad in the league.”
Loan signings in Caley Thistle midfielder Harry Hennem, and Matthew Wright and Adam Mackinnon from Ross County, are now complementing more seasoned competitors in the squad.
Campbell said: “Adam played against Lossie and scored a great goal. For his age, he shows exceptional composure and maturity on the ball. Playing alongside Dale Gillespie, they complemented each other really well.”
A trip to Harlaw Park to face Inverurie Locos represents a tough first official assignment for Campbell, but it is also an opportunity to lay down a marker in the league campaign.
Brora sit 10 points off title pace with two games in hand on leaders Fraserburgh in a league where points seem likely to be dropped among the leading contenders.
Campbell added: “I’ve said to the boys if they can put together a run of form, which we have, they have every chance.
“It is all about consistency in this league. We need to be winning week-in, week-out to go and win the title. It’s another tough game against Inverurie, but we’ll be going down there in good spirits.”
Campbell will be without ex-Ross County attacker James Wallace (knee) and midfielder Martin Maclean (Achilles).