Shane shines as Elgin thrash Dons kids
ELGIN City's thrashing of a young Aberdeen side in their 125th anniversary match excited manager Gavin Price.
Shane Sutherland marked his Borough Briggs return with two goals and a man-of-the-match display in the 8-1 win against the Dons.
Fellow summer signing Conor O'Keefe netted possibly the fastest hat-trick in the club's history, scoring the last three goals in a three-and-a-half minute blitz near the end.
Of City's other new faces, Russell Dingwall impressed in centre midfield while Euan Spark at left back and Andy McDonald at centre back looked assured.
Price refused to get carried away by the margin of his team's success but saw plenty scope for encouragement.
The Dons line-up included ex-Elgin loanee Bruce Anderson and Frank Ross, both scorers of first team goals against Rangers in the past 18 months.
Former Hamilton, Partick and Czech Republic under-21 keeper Tomas cerny was in goal for the Pittodrie side.
The game started badly for Elgin when recent Dons signing Michael Ruth headed in a second minute opener.
But the home side took control once the lively Kane Hester beat Cerny to a Brian Cameron through ball and equalised on nine minutes.
Hester returned the compliment for Cameron to slide City ahead and Sutherland finished off another Hester cross on 20 minutes.
Sutherland's second arrived on the half hour, crashing home Dingwall's cut back from the right.
Leading 4-1 at the break, Elgin made some changes in the second half and it was into the final ten minutes before they could add to their tally with a goal flurry.
Club captain Darryl McHardy came off the bench to nod in a corner and O'Keefe twice converted Sutherland assists for a quick brace, before chasing a though ball to lob in his hat-trick on 86 minutes.
"We are under no illusions that it was a young Aberdeen team we were playing at the end," said Price.
"But in terms of what we did on the park, pressing and defending and our attacking flair which people will have seen tonight, we do look a different team.
"We have got players that complement each, we’ve got pace in the wide areas, we’ve got pace up front, we’ve got footballing abilities of Dingwall, Cameron and Sutherland that can play through teams and we’ve got lots of energy. I think that’s the biggest thing.
"Big Andy gives us a lot of composure and stature, and in Spark on the left hand side we’ve got a new dimension as well. So everything is good so far but I’m under no illusions that there will be sterner tests ahead."
Sutherland said he was delighted to be back in a black and white shirt and sees great potential for City's new look side.
"I thought the boys were excellent tonight," he said.
"The fitness levels looked good, as was the way we tried to play, the players we have taken in and the one who were already here who I think have improved since I left the last time, maybe with a pre-season under their belt.
"Personally it is my first full 90 minutes since way back in April so it was good to get the minutes in the bank and to score goals, any striker will tell you if you don’t score even in pre-season you come off the pitch feeling a bit downhearted.
"But to be involved in the game like that, it felt like I was never away.
"We've got some players that can do real damage. Russell Dingwall, Rabin (Omar), Soapy (Cameron), myself, and Kane if he runs the channels and stretches the game, there’s a good balance there.
"Wee Conor with that pace, there’s no-one going to deal with him if we can get the ball down to him.
"If we can play to each other’s strengths, which I think is playing the ball on the deck and if the pitch can be in this shape going forward then teams won’t enjoy coming up here."
Some of Elgin's first team squad who didn't start the Aberdeen game were being lined up for an appearance in a friendly at Deveronvale tonight (Friday).
City have their final friendly at Clach on Tuesday before the competitive action gets underway with a Betfred Cup group game at Arbroath on July 13.