Inverness club's 21-year wait for North Caledonian League debut is almost over
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CLUB founder Shane Carling says Loch Ness playing in the North Caledonian League has been more than two decades in the making.
After 21 years of playing summer football in the Inverness and District Amateur Football Association, Loch Ness will get its first taste of winter football.
Tomorrow afternoon they will kick off against fellow newcomers Scourie in North Caledonian League Division Two at Canal Park in what will be a historic match for both teams.
Carling says the club have waited a long time to play in the NCL.
“It is 21 years since the club first formed and we have waited for a while for this moment,” he said.
“Hopefully nothing changes and football will be able to go ahead on Saturday.
“As a team we are all buzzing. The boys have been waiting a long time to kick a ball.
“We have working hard in training and are just looking forward to playing on Saturday.”
Before even kicking a ball in the 2020/21 campaign, Loch Ness made a big impression off it with their football kit, which features the Loch Ness Monster. It became a viral sensation, and earned them new fans from all over the world.
More than 2500 football shirts have been sold, which has helped them prepare for the new season.
“The response has been excellent and it has helped us build our fanbase,” said Carling.
“People from around the world are getting in touch with us on Facebook wanting to know how we’re getting on and asking if we can put live footage of our games on the internet.
“We have invested in cameras which will allow people to do that.”
Loch Ness have also established a big squad of players who have been playing in pre-season friendlies against Highland League and junior opposition.
Last weekend, they battled to a 1-1 draw against North Junior Super League outfit Nairn St Ninian.
“We are ready as we have a big squad,” he said.
“At training we probably are going to have around 30 players just to make sure that they are in the squad for Saturday.
“All of the boys are definitely ready to go and hopefully everything will go well for us.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s opponents from north-west Sutherland, Carling admitted it was a jump into the unknown.
“I did speak to one of their committee members who said they have pulled in players from Ullapool and Inverness,” he said.
“We don’t know what to expect from Scourie.”