Confidence boost ahead of Brora's big day out
ROSS Tokely praised his players for keeping their minds on the job at hand as they swept aside Inverurie Locos to move into the next round of the Breedon Highland League Cup.
The forthcoming fifth round Scottish Cup tie at the home of in-form Scottish Premiership side Kilmarnock could have become a distraction as excitement begins to build.
Brora, however, did not allow themselves to look that far ahead and the fact the mindset of his players was right pleased manager Tokely.
“The message before the game was to focus on Inverurie then we can enjoy a very good week for the club,” he said.
“We are delighted to be in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup and we will go down there and do our best to represent the Highland League.
“I’m happy with how we played against Inverurie. I thought we played well in spells on a heavy pitch.
“It was a competitive cup tie. I wouldn’t say we played as well as we could.
“They got a goal early in the second half and made it difficult for us, it was poor goal on our part, but we got stronger.”
On a pitch which passed two inspections, a Scott Graham double helped steer Brora in the first round proper of the Highland League Cup after a convincing victory against preliminary round opponents Inverurie at Dudgeon Park.
First half goals from Graham and John Pickles put Brora in the driving seat before Neil Gauld pulled one back for Locos early in the second half.
However, after a sticky spell on a heavy pitch, Brora finished strongly with another goal from Graham and an own-goal courtesy of Locos goalkeeper Andy Reid.
Brora got off to a flyer with a goal after just four minutes.
A long ball from Ally MacDonald found Graham who side-stepped his marker and coolly slotted the ball past Reid.
The home side created another opening in the 10th minute when a Kyle MacLeod flick-on set up Martin MacLean but his effort was well saved by Reid at the near post.
Locos came more into the tie as the half wore on and Martin Laing tested Joe Malin in the Brora goal with a snap shot after Connor Rennie picked him out.
Neil McLean then had a turn and shot from outside the 18-yard box which flew wide of Malin’s right-hand post.
It was Brora’s turn to threaten and after a Pickles shot in the 33rd minute was blocked in front of goal, Graham fired a shot just wide of the upright.
But Brora doubled their lead three minutes later when Pickles won the ball back on the edge of the area and he fired a low shot into the far corner of the net.
Graham came close again when he turned a MacLeod cross past Reid’s left-hand post three minutes from the break.
Locos made a couple of changes at half-time and they were back in the tie in the 48th minute when Chris Angus swung a ball over from the left and Gauld was left with a simple finish.
Brora responded with a driving run from MacLean before his lay-off was blasted wide of target by MacLeod.MacLean had another chance in the 55th minute when his attempted lob flew wide of goal.
Paul Brindle, who had come on as a sub a minute earlier, made an instant impact when his cut back was fired high into the net by Graham for his second of the tie in the 66th minute.
It got worse for Locos six minutes later when Reid fumbled a MacDonald corner into his own net.
Brora came close to adding to their lead but MacKay fired over from close range and Brindle forced a point-blank save from Reid after the keeper clawed away a shot from Craig Campbell.
Brora Rangers – Malin, Pickles, MacDonald (C Campbell 75); Williamson, Duff, Morrison, MacLean (A Wilson 80), Graham, MacLeod (P Brindle 65), MacKay, Nicolson. Subs not used – S Lisle, James Pickles.
Inverurie Locos – Reid, Rennie, Mitchell, Duff, Souter, Broadhurst, Charlesworth (C Herd 46), McLean, Gauld, Hunter, Laing (C Angus 46). Subs not used – Crisp, Gill, Matheson.
* Ahead of tomorrow's historic game, Brora chairman William Powrie told us:
"We travel to Kilmarnock to take our place in the fifth round of the Scottish cup,
having previously accounted for SPFL opposition in both Stranraer and East
Fife. Make no mistake we are there on merit, and I know that once again the
boys will put up a very credible account of themselves.
"Our manager Ross Tokely, has prepared the players well, and we go into the
match knowing we have nothing to fear, and whilst Kilmarnock are one of the
top teams In the country, we will do ourselves and the Highland League proud.
"I have literally been overwhelmed with the messages of good luck, and once
again it looks as if we will not be short of support on our big day. At the
last count we have five buses going to the match, and numbers will be swelled
further by ex-pat supporters living in and around the Central Belt.
"We have had bags of media coverage, and it makes me very proud that the
football team has in some small way promoted the broader interests of Brora.
The BBC will be carrying a piece on the club and the village on its iconic
Football Focus programme which will be screened throughout the UK at 12 noon on Saturday. Certainly well worth a watch.
"Finally I would like to thank sincerely the shopkeepers in the village who so
kindly have given up their valuable window space to promote the club on this
most eventful journey of ours."