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Rothes 2 Bora Rangers 1 - Speysiders claim North of Scotland Cup with second half comeback

By Ewan Malcolm

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A SECOND half comeback sealed a first North of Scotland Cup title in 42 years for Rothes against Brora Rangers at a windy Grant Park.

Rothes FC manager Ross Jack was delighted with his side's cup winning comeback in challenging conditions. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Rothes FC manager Ross Jack was delighted with his side's cup winning comeback in challenging conditions. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

Matthew Wright put Brora ahead in the first half but second half goals from Michael Finnis and Ryan McRitchie completed a dramatic turnaround for Ross Jack's side.

Jack was pleased with his side's comeback in strong winds which were present for much of the 90 minutes.

"The wind was really difficult in the first half," Jack said following his side's victory.

"We knew that if we just stayed in the game at one nil and if we came out and pressed we'd have a good chance. In the end I think our performance was worthy of the victory.

"It was very very tough. I think Brora would agree. It was tough to get the ball down and play so unfortunately it wasn't a great footballing spectacle for the neutral.

"It's what we had to deal with though. Those were the conditions we had to play in but we did really well in the second half in terms of putting them under much more pressure.

"We got what we deserved in the end."

The Cattachs appointed Craig Campbell as their new permanent first team manager recently and it seemed like he might claim some early silverware after a strong first half showing.

Brora target man Jordan Macrae rifled a shot from outside the box against the bar to give Rothes an early scare.

If Macrae's effort was a warning, Rothes failed to take it. Some neat interplay released John Pickles down the wing before the marauding fullback sent a low ball into the box. The usually reliable Rothes back line left Brora's Wright in far too much room as he recieved the cross and stroked home the opener via a slight deflection.

Former Rothes man Dale Gillespie was central to much of Brora's first half pressure. After being booed by the Rothes faithful for much of the first half he nearly silenced them on the stroke of half time. A Cruyff turn on the edge of the area released Gillepsie before he fizzed an effort just over the bar - much to the relief of Rothes.

Rothes survived the onslaught to get to the interval just the one goal down.

However, Rothes forced the issue immediately from the restart.

Alan Pollock, who had been kept unusually quiet in the first half, saw his drilled effort from outside the box whistle narrowly wide.

Rothes were rewarded for their quick start to the half when Finnis levelled the tie. Allen Mackenzie's floated ball reached McRitchie at the back post. The defender fired it back across the face of goal for Finnis to bundle over the line.

Mackenzie almost made it a quick fire double for the Speysiders when he muscled pickles off the ball before sending his effort just over the bar from inside the box.

Rothes made the pressure count with 15 minutes to go after a string of corners. Pollock's dangerous delivery was met by McRitchie who shrugged off his marker to plant a towering header into the back of the net.

Brora threw players forward in search of an equaliser but ultimately fell to a deserved defeat.

Rothes fans didn't get to see their side's historic Highland League Cup win last year due to the pandemic. However, Jack was delighted to see such a large support witness yet another historic moment in person this time.

He said: "The fans were absolutely magnificent. You can see the colour, the spectacle and the noise that they brought. It was absolutely fantastic. They were up for fun on the day, there's nothing boring about them and they got right behind us from minute one.

"You can tell that the energy they created during the match fed right into the boys and it was crucial especially when we were looking to comeback."

After securing his second piece of silverware as Rothes manager, Jack isn't ready to let up any time soon.

"The boys have now really got a taste for it," he said.

"We've just got to keep plugging away now. We need to keep going. We don't set targets like that though, we're always looking at the next game. Wednesday is a big one away to Turriff so all focus will be on that one now."

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