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Manager hails impact of veteran striker who scores winner in Highland League Cup clash

By Alan Hendry

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Manager Steven Mackay hailed the enduring quality of veteran striker Conor Gethins after the 39-year-old Irishman sealed Nairn County's place in the next round of the Highland League Cup.

Nairn's Conor Gethins chips the keep for the only goal of the game. Picture: Callum Mackay..
Nairn's Conor Gethins chips the keep for the only goal of the game. Picture: Callum Mackay..

Gethins grabbed the only goal in Saturday's preliminary tie against Wick Academy to set up a trip to Keith in the first round proper.

The decisive moment at Harmsworth Park came after 11 minutes when Academy surrendered possession and the visitors took full advantage. The ball was played across to Tyler Eadie on the right and he teed up Gethins, who slotted a low shot beyond the diving Graeme Williamson from the edge of the box.

"He gives that quality," Mackay said. "He's not got the legs to get around the park, which is fine, but you give him a chance and he'll stick it away.

"It was a great bit of play, the move was good, and Tyler picked him out unselfishly.

"Conor will score those chances nine times out of 10. He is the player that he has always been - he is very composed on the ball."

The match itself was not one that will live long in the memory.

"In the first half I thought we were pretty dominant and we were disappointed to go in only 1-0 up," Mackay said. "The second half was pretty even - Wick might have edged it in terms of chances created.

"The objective was to come up here and get through to the next round of the cup, which we've done. But I think if we were a bit more streetwise in the final third, a bit more clinical, it could have been a bit more comfortable than it was."

Gethins almost added a second in the closing stages when he fired a close-range shot off the outside of a post from a tight angle.

Nairn return to league action on Wednesday with a home match against Rothes.

"They've had a tough start but they got a draw against Banks O' Dee which will give them confidence," Mackay said.

"They've now got a point on the board which we don't have yet - we've had two defeats. It's an important game for us but we know it'll be tough.

"I think the league is getting stronger and stronger every year. You look at the teams now that are potentially challenging for the league and you've probably got five or six really good candidates for that whereas in previous years you might have had only two or three.

"Equally in mid-table, and in and around the bottom, anyone can beat anyone on any given day. So it's important that when you are as dominant as we were in the first 20 minutes or half an hour that you take advantage of that."

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