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  • North Caledonian Football Association

GOLSPIE Sutherland may have finished the season without silverware - but the Sutherland side played a big part in the eventual outcome of the Macleod & MacCallum North Caledonian League.

During the campaign, they claimed home and away victories over Loch Ness, a home win against Halkirk United and they remained unbeaten against eventual champions Invergordon.

Player/manager Sam Mackay stepped down at the end of the campaign, his second in charge, having won the league during the short pandemic season of 2020-21.

It took just three days for the committee to appoint a replacement in former Clachnacuddin, Brora Rangers and Strathspey Thistle defender Mark Mckernie.

Mckernie joins Golspie as a C licensed coach, with past experience as Brora Rangers' U20 team manager, and a community coach with Ross County.

The new man in charge is hopeful that Golspie can build on last year's successes, while also introducing some younger players.

"I think Sam did a good job last year. Golspie were still in the race until the last few games of the season. This season we are looking to try finish as high up the league table as possible, while trying to get young talent through."

"Pre-season for ourselves has been delayed due to summer leagues and the Highland Amateur Cup as there was no real clear window for us to start earlier. So far though, it has been about preparing sessions and recruiting a squad."

"There have been some comings and goings. Sam has decided that it's time to spend more time at home than to travel for football on a Saturday, so we wish him all the best and thank him for all the time and work he put in as player/manager last season."

The new manager also confirmed that top scorer Liam Bremner, who netted 33 goals last season and won the league's Player of the Year award, has joined Wick Academy for preseason, along with Sean Munro.

"Liam and Sean go with our best wishes and we hope all works out for them. This frees up a bit of space for others coming in, whether it be lads from other clubs or local talent. Hopefully we can replace them and they can hit the ground running."

Golspie face the daunting prospect of being the first North Caledonian League club to travel to Claggan Park since the Lochaber club's relegation from the Highland League. The manager is acutely aware that this could be a formidable proposition.

"Fort William are a well-established club, so I would imagine they will be well organised, and experienced. It's a challenge we will be looking forward to."

"We are just looking forward to getting going now and are looking forward to welcoming new clubs to the league and providing fresh challenges."