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North Caledonian League shaping up to be most competitive in years, says Loch Ness manager Shane Carling


By Andrew Henderson

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Shane Carling believes early season results suggest this is going to be one of the most competitive North Caledonian League campaigns in years.

Carling’s Loch Ness side have fared well in their second season as a North Caley outfit, winning three games before suffering their first defeat of the season against Invergordon last time out.

It has been a mixed bag so far for their opponents tomorrow, St Duthus, who lost to Nairn County A, Bonar Bridge and drew with Halkirk United before beating Inverness Athletic last weekend.

That was a special occasion for Carling’s opposite number, Stuart Ross, as it was his 100th game in charge, but the Loch Ness boss is looking forward to facing him.

“I’ve seen a couple of results where they got beat, which was a bit surprising,” Carling said.

“That’s the league we’re in this year, that’s what it’s going to be like this season.

Loch Ness manager Shane Carling expects this season's NCL title to be one of the most hotly contested in years.
Loch Ness manager Shane Carling expects this season's NCL title to be one of the most hotly contested in years.

“This league has never been as good as it is now. There are a lot of good teams and good players.

“Looking at some of the results, if you’re missing three or four boys it can make a difference.

“I know Stuart and his brother really well, they know me well and how I set up to play, so they will be trying to get the points.

“With us getting beat and them winning last Saturday, they’re on a high and they will think we’re on a bit of a low.

“It’s definitely going to be a tough game, but I’m looking forward to it – especially being our first home game through in Fortrose.”

Inverness Athletic, meanwhile, will host Thurso tomorrow.

Both sides will be disappointed with their starts, Athletic in particular as they sit at the bottom of the table without a win.

In fact, the only point Jason Golabek’s men have picked up so far was in their opening day draw away at Golspie Sutherland.

It was only last weekend, though, that Thurso moved off the foot of the division themselves with a 3–0 win away at Alness United, so Athletic will feel they have every chance of leapfrogging their opponents.


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