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Helmsdale United aim to keep Highland Amateur Cup dream alive this weekend

By Will Clark

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Helmsdale United are in the quarter finals of the Highland Amateur Cup.
Helmsdale United are in the quarter finals of the Highland Amateur Cup.

HELMSDALE United will look to keep their dream of winning the Highland Amateur Cup for the first time alive when they take on Stornoway Athletic in the quarter finals on Saturday.

The only Sutherland team left in the competition will take on the Western Isles outfit on neutral ground when the match is scheduled to be played in Maryburgh on Saturday at 12.30pm.

Helmsdale have come through a tough run of matches to reach the last eight of the tournament.

It has included victory in the preliminary round at Thurso Swifts before a first round home victory over Brora Wanderers.

They then won two matches in Orkney, defeating Dounby Athletic and Stromness Athletic to reach the quarter finals.

Club captain Colin Macrae says they will be facing tough opposition against the Lewis and Harris League leaders on Saturday.

But he says they should take confidence from the results they have achieved in the previous rounds.

He said: “I think that they are top of their league at the moment. They are a good team by all accounts, they have to be to reach that stage.

“Our league form has not been the best as we have not been consistent enough. But we are still doing OK in the cup. We have been saying for a few years now that we want a good Highland Amateur Cup run.

“We have had a few good results, winning a preliminary in Thurso, and beat Brora at home followed by two trips to Orkney and we have done well to get to this stage of the competition.

“I can’t fault the effort of the team, especially the win against Stromness as they were semi finalists last year and only narrowly lost to Wick Groats.

“We have to use that for confidence that we go and get another win this weekend.”

No team from Sutherland has ever won the Highland Amateur Cup. The closest a team from the county has come to achieving that was Golspie Stafford, who lost 1-0 to Pentland United in 2010.

Macrae says he hopes Helmsdale will have the support of everyone in Sutherland as they look to reach the next round of the competition.

“I don’t think it is playing on anyone’s minds that no team from Sutherland has ever won it before. We are only thinking about Saturday, before thinking further ahead.

“If we can get as far as the final that would be amazing, but we will concentrate on Stornoway first. It is good to represent the county as Helmsdale. It will spur us to go on as far as we can.”

Macrae says a big crowd is expected to cheer on Helmsdale in Maryburgh on Saturday.

“We took around 80 fans to Orkney, we have a good support in Helmsdale, I think half the village will be down at Maryburgh, we are fortunate to have a good support at the side of the pitch.

“We will be at full strength and have the same squad we had in Orkney.”

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