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Nairn County praised for 'digging deep' as they go up to third

By Alan Hendry

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Nairn players celebrate Aaron Nicolson's penalty which gave the visitors a 2-1 lead. Picture: Mel Roger
Nairn players celebrate Aaron Nicolson's penalty which gave the visitors a 2-1 lead. Picture: Mel Roger

Nairn County manager Steven Mackay praised his players for “digging deep” as they continued their winning run in the Highland League with a 3-2 victory at Wick.

It was the Wee County's seventh league victory in a row and they are up to third in the table, behind Brechin City and Banks O' Dee.

“You put the work in on the training ground and we demonstrated last season when we came in that we can go on these types of runs,” Mackay said.

“This winning streak is great, the momentum is certainly in our court. We seem to just keep digging deep, which is a trait that's important in any football team, so I'm happy with how it's going.”

Two goals in the space of a minute just before half-time turned the match in Nairn's favour after Wick had taken a third-minute lead through Gary Pullen.

County equalised on 43 minutes when the ball was played across the face of goal and George Robesten knocked it in at the back post.

A minute later, referee Stuart Randall spotted a trip on Aaron Nicolson inside the box and the young forward picked himself up to score from the spot.

Four minutes into the second half Wick made it 2-2, Marc Macgregor netting from close range after Dylan Maclean blocked a shot from Pullen.

Wick's Ryan Campbell was sent off on 74 minutes after bringing down substitute Ben Kelly on the edge of the penalty area.

With 86 minutes gone, substitute Jamie Carnihan delivered the ball into the box from wide on the right and it sneaked in at the back post.

Mackay said: “We had a bit of good fortune with the third goal, although Jamie is telling me that he meant it.

“I'm delighted for Jamie because he has been in and out of the team. We've got a lot of talent and he has been patient, which is important.

“Every time he has been called upon he has done well, so we were delighted for him to get the goal.

“I think on the balance of play no-one can begrudge us the win.

“We certainly didn't start well, and Wick caught us a bit cold with the goal, but we responded really well and it felt like a goal was coming, albeit you don't expect two goals in the space of a couple of minutes.

“I think the penalty was a bit of a rash tackle on Aaron Nicolson and he stuck it away.

“I'm delighted overall with the performance.

“Our starting front three of George Robesten, Aaron Nicolson and Calum Mackay are all 18. They are all young boys, and then Jamie came on, he's 18, and scored the [winning] goal.

“We had three 18-year-olds that scored today. Everyone thinks of us as an old team because we've got Ross Tokely and myself and Wayne Mackintosh.

“I'm really proud of the young boys and how they stood up to the physicality of the game because it's a hard place to come.”

Mackay added: “Wick were missing Jack Halliday, Kyle Henderson and Gordon MacNab today. Those are three big players and they caused us a lot of problems at Nairn a few weeks ago [when Nairn won 2-0].

“If they can get all those boys back and get everyone fit they will cause teams a lot of problems.”

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