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Midfielder says Scottish Cup performances show Brora Rangers capable of Highland League title bid

By Will Clark

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Tony Dingwall (left) in action for Brora Rangers.
Tony Dingwall (left) in action for Brora Rangers.

TONY Dingwall says their Scottish Cup run shows Brora Rangers are capable of mounting a Highland League title challenge this season.

The Cattachs pushed League One outfit Cove Rangers to extra time before falling to a 3-1 defeat at Dudgeon Park in their Scottish Cup fourth round clash on Tuesday night.

Now they are turning their attention to Banff on Saturday as they travel to face Deveronvale in the Highland League.

Brora Rangers are ninth place in the league and are 18 points behind leaders Brechin City.

However, Brora have five games in hand on the defending champions, and a run of victories could put the Sutherland outfit back in the title race.

Brora are facing a punishing schedule of playing two games a week, almost until the end of the season, due to the amount of postponements they have experienced. So far Brora Rangers have only played 14 matches in the Highland League, with 20 remaining.

The season has to end on Saturday, April 13, at least for teams challenging for the title, to coincide with the League Two play-offs.

But Dingwall says Brora have the quality to take the backlog of fixtures head on and be in the title mix at the end of the season.

“We believe we can be and we have to believe we can be,” said Dingwall.

“We are capable of going on a run and a continuation of winning games.

“If we can win five or six games in a row, we won’t be far away from the top.

“We also have to play both Brechin City and Buckie Thistle twice so we can do it.

“We just need to find the consistency.

“If we can play like we did against Cove Rangers, I’d like to think that we would win most games in the Highland League.

“It is easier said than done though, so we have to go and do it to have any chance of winning the league.”

Dingwall did say the number of postponements the club have suffered this season makes the rest of campaign a tougher challenge that it already was.

“It has been a nightmare, the games being off are nobody’s fault, but the boys just want to play football.

“I think we will have to play every single Wednesday night and Saturday afternoon until the end of the season to make up the fixtures.

“It is not ideal for the boys, not just in terms of recovery, but for work reasons as well.

“For some matches, we are not home until 2am in the morning and you need to get up for work the next day.”

On Tuesday, Dingwall scored in the 19th minute to give Brora Rangers the lead, before Mitchell Megginson equalised for Cove three minutes later with the game finishing 1-1 in normal time.

Megginson then scored in extra time before Connor Scully killed the game off to send Cove Rangers into the fifth round where they will travel to Kilmarnock.

Despite defeat, Dingwall was proud of his team’s performance on Tuesday night.

He said: “Before the game, we thought that we could give Cove Rangers a run for their money. I’m sure a few people would have wrote us off, but we believed we had a good chance, especially at Brora.

“We ran out of steam in extra time as we have not played many games and they are a full time team.

"Overall, there was not much in the game. I’ve played in League One and League Two, and the level between the top end of the Highland League and League Two, there is not much difference in terms of player quality.”

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