Published: 15/09/2009 00:00 - Updated: 25/11/2011 13:06

Caley Thistle break Nairn County's grip on cup

Graeme Shinnie proudly lifts the trophy for Caley Thistle.
Graeme Shinnie proudly lifts the trophy for Caley Thistle.

NAIRN County may have lost this North of Scotland Cup final, but they did not go down without a fight against Caley Thistle at Mosset Park, Forres.

The Wee County, who defeated Inverness last year to win the trophy, recovered well from twice falling two goals behind in the match, yet it was not enough to prevent the Highland Capital club from lifting the silverware.

Fielding a team which included regular first-team players David Proctor, Lionel Djebi-Zadi, Roy McBain and Adam Rooney, Caley Thistle were strong pre-match favourites and they quickly justified this tag with the opener after just three minutes.

A foul by Stephen Skinner on Shane Sutherland presented Inverness with a free-kick on the edge of the box and Gavin Morrison fired the ball through a wall of yellow shirts and into the left-hand corner of Callum Donaldson's goal.

The full-time club continued to press Nairn and Rooney was inches away from making it 2-0 with 11 minutes gone, but he could not get enough on the ball to divert Graeme Shinnie's cross home.

Slowly, the Wee County settled and they came close to levelling matters two minutes later when Tony Low's cross was controlled by Craig Campbell in space. He laid the ball back into the path of Gregg Main who unleashed a curling shot from 22 yards that clipped the outside of the post on its way wide.

Nairn's profligacy in front of goal in recent matches has been well documented, but they were unlucky to be denied by the woodwork for a second time after 19 minutes.

Campbell was once again the creator, this time setting up top scorer Steven MacKay, who could only watch as goalkeeper Kyle Allison somehow pushed his header on to the post and away to safety. The play then raged to the other end where Nick Ross sent in a fine effort that skimmed the crossbar on its way over.

Caley Thistle, however, did extend their lead in the 29th minute, Shane Sutherland converting a free-kick by midfielder Morrison.

Nairn's resolve was now being seriously tested, but they got back into the game with half-time approaching, Gregg Main scoring from a free-kick, although Allison will feel he should perhaps have done better as he fumbled the ball behind him and into the goal.

Campbell and then Shaun Kerr went close for Nairn at the start of the second half, while Rooney headed over a Shinnie cross at the other end.

Rooney, however, made no mistake with 68 minutes gone, drilling home a savage right-foot shot after he had been picked out on the edge of the box by Ross.

The Wee County introduced Willie Barron and he gave them renewed hope 11 minutes from time with a glancing header from Low's cross.

Campbell and sub Glenn Main had late chances to complete the comeback, but Nairn could not find the equaliser as Caley Thistle held firm.

CALEY THISTLE Allison; J. Sutherland, Djebi-Zadi, Proctor, Shinnie, Morrison, Ross, MacAskill, Rooney, S. Sutherland, McBain (Park, 76). Subs unused: Polworth, Fraser, Laing, Kinnock.

NAIRN COUNTY Donaldson; Hind, MacKintosh, Campbell, Kerr (Barron, 73), MacKay, B. MacLeod, Low, Skinner, Gregg Main, Sanderson (Glenn Main, 84). Subs unused: Coletto, P. MacLeod, Ridgers.

Referee: A. Frew.

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