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Lairg Rovers and Golspie Stafford face uphill tasks to progress past third round of Highland Amateur Cup

By Alasdair Fraser

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Lairg Rovers will look to pull off a shock and humble the Highland Amateur Cup’s all-time most successful club this weekend in the far north of Caithness.

Third round hosts Pentland United, the 2018 winners, rank as one of this year’s favourites for the 44-year-old cup silverware and are looking to add to eight previous triumphs in the pan-Highland competition.

Shaun Forbes nets for Pentland in 2019’s cup win over Lairg Rovers.
Shaun Forbes nets for Pentland in 2019’s cup win over Lairg Rovers.

Rovers, though, take strong league form north with them to Ham Park, Dunnet, having beaten Lochinver 5–1 at home last weekend.

The Ferry Croft Park side’s latest win kept them at the summit of the North-West Sutherland League, two points ahead of unbeaten Helmsdale who hold a game in hand.

Pentland have been in storming form in their own league and cup competitions, banging in goals for fun at times.

They won their north section first round tie away to Top Joes 7–0 last month, while Rovers were triumphing 6–2 at Inver.

Rovers then travelled to Barra where they secured a 3–1 second round victory, while Pentland despatched visiting Kirkwall Thorfinn with minimum fuss in a 4–0 beating.

The winners of the Pentland v Lairg Rovers tie will land an away quarter final against either Stromness Athletic or Wick Thistle.

Golspie Stafford, meanwhile, face Inverness and District Amateur Premier League title challengers Black Rock Rovers in Evanton.

Stafford, fourth in the North-West Sutherland League, will be considered underdogs for the away test, but have showed their mettle in the competition so far with two victories on the road, a gritty 3–2 win away to Thurso Academicals and then a 6–0 hammering of hosts Fortrose and Rosemarkie.

Black Rock have so far knocked out Mallaig and Ferrybache in comfortable home wins.

The winners in Evanton will progress to face either Lochdar Saints or High Omlie Hotspurs at home in the last eight on July 16, with the semi final falling on August 6 and the final on August 20.

Other stand-out third round ties include the current holders Wick Groats’ home tussle with Staxigoe United and Kirkwall Hotspurs’ trip to face Avoch.

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