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Highland ITFC

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  1. Very impressed with Strathspey against Elgin the other night. Pretty much all ex-ICT, County & Elgin lads, & played some excellent football, as well as being fit, hard-working & organised. Had the better of Elgin for most of the first half & first part of the second, before Elgin bucked their ideas up & eventually came up with a late winner to take it 2-1. Definitely a comfortable mid-table opportunity for Strathspey this season, & would be surprised to see them struggling down the bottom end.
  2. Completely agree of course that players have to be good enough, but you've maybe missed my point that if the Club is investing so much time, effort & money in the Academy, then surely one would expect it to be producing results, as otherwise what's the point of having it? From what I've seen in recent seasons, there is the positive of giving out a good number of debuts to the youngsters with a few minutes towards the end of a game, as has happened for time immemorial across football, but then the steady introduction of which you rightly speak then doesn't seem to happen from there. Some managers clearly trust in youth & will consistently give young players regular opportunities in games to enable that gradual introduction - if they don't get them then nobody really knows how they'll react & develop - whilst others may talk about it, & give the gestures of the debuts, but don't actually follow up by as I say seemingly consistently trusting themselves about the youngsters, or the youngsters themselves. I think it's a fair observation that Elgin over recent seasons have been one of those clubs, & if that doesn't change, then the Academy is effectively producing nothing for the club. Re the two players mentioned, perhaps not surprising that we saw or heard nothing of them last season, given that they moved on last summer & the Highland League season didn't actually happen in '20/'21. Hopefully they'll show up well from the start of the new season.
  3. A shame to see Wilson decide that he needed to move on, but for me it's another sign of the disconnect between the First Team set-up, & the much heralded Academy youth development at the club. Over the last few years there's a lot of youngsters that have been given their debuts with a few minutes here & there, but other than David Wilson, none have had the opportunity to establish themselves & develop with continued opportunities in the First Team squad. Even with David, he's only made about 50 appearances in 4 seasons, with two or three short spells in the side, around long periods of bench warming. You could of course say that he's not been good enough, but he actually came through the youth set-up as an energetic central defensive midfielder, with a happy knack of pitching in with a few goals from set pieces, but Gavin decided that he was a right back in the First Team, & for me he's never looked the same player there. Folk might quote Aiden Sopel as a success story, but remember that he actually came through the ICT youth set-up, then spent a season at Peterhead before coming to Elgin, so not a product of Elgin's Academy. There's also been a tendency to bring in loan players, &/or poor quality signings like McGowan, rather than give our own youngster first opportunity, & this has without doubt contributed to the likes of Ashley Ballam & Liam McDade, to give two examples, deciding that after several seasons of loan football, & only the odd few minutes with the First Team, that they were better to reject contract offers & go elsewhere. That's now happened with the one guy who did come through into the First Team, as beyond Wilson you're going back to McHardy, Cameron & Cooper as the last 'products' of the youth set-up. Rory McEwan was of course also there, but he spent three seasons away developing with Stirling Uni before then coming back. Not sure he would have got the same chance to develop by playing at Elgin. There's a further crop of youngsters that have been given First Team squad contracts this season, but based on recent history, I'll be very surprised if even one or two end up with proper opportunities with the actual team. I hope that I'm proved wrong, but with the investment in & professionalism of the club's Academy, we surely should have seen more of the graduates being given a proper chance to show what they can do?
  4. Yet another striker brought in today.....Craig Brown on loan to end of season from Uni of Stirling. Unless they think he's a prospect that they want to take a look at with a view to a longer term deal, then seems a bit of an odd one. Think that's six strikers now, & according to the club website, squad is now up to 24 players in total which is large for L2 standards. Can't be too strapped cash-wise which is obviously a good thing!
  5. See your point, but you could also argue that it would be beneficial to the majority of clubs to be able to start games with fans in the ground & some income, rather than all just remaining hamstrung financially. Other businesses in areas with lesser restrictions won't choose not to operate, or operate in a lesser way, just for solidarity with businesses that still suffer great restrictions. Not an easy situation, but surely better to get whatever financial benefit that is available, rather than none at all. Perhaps clubs could discuss sharing gate revenues as a way to help the 'Shire clubs in the short term?
  6. Football pitch lines are all there. Have been since it was first opened. ICT use it, as have Clach, & now Loch Ness. Can't 100% remember the colour, but yellow I think, & It's clear when you're on the pitch. Can see them clearly from up on the clubhouse balcony. Will be nice to return there one day as it's a great vantage point to watch games....both rugby & football.
  7. “Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men.” ― Douglas Bader Pretty much sums up the situation with sport full-stop at present, & as supporters we're all being made the fool. Need some wise men (or women) leading in Government & sporting governing bodies, but sadly lacking at present.
  8. Great to see Gavin Price's leadership of the Feldyroo initiative during lockdown being recognised with an MBE. A real 'Joe Public' person making a difference & being recognised for it, along with a lot of similar accolades in this Honours List.
  9. Nairn Sts always seem to post about the public park being closed whilst they're playing, but can't see how they can shut off the whole park....or that it's necessary. Are Nairn County A playing their home games at Station Park, or somewhere else?
  10. As things stand the NCL & other Juniors will I'm sure get some increased numbers watching them, given that many play on public parks with vantage points outside of the usual confines of the immediate pitch & sorrounding area, & folk obviously cant go & watch higher levels where actually getting into a ground is of course not possible. I know that Loch Ness playing at Highland Rugby Club have a ground mostly surrounded by open fencing, so they will be one. Which others offer good views?
  11. You've quite rightly hit on a very important part of the discussion here Gordon....personal choice. You are saying that you won't be going to all the places that you've listed above, which of course if your choice to make, but them being open & able to operate has been decided by ScotGov as being safe, assuming the precautions that we all know are observed, & accordingly many people are happy & comfortable to visit these places. Football, or any other sport, should be no different. Agree & implement appropriate precautions, open for business, & those that want & feel comfortable to go will do so, & those that don't can choose not to do so. Freedom of choice, & no stopping a business that could operate safely from doing so.
  12. Always perplexed when people who one assumes are football fans - why would one be on here if not? - seem to have such a downer on supporting the notion of using agreed protocols / precautions to get fans back to watch the game that they love.. If we take your argument above, then the same logic would mean that none of us would be able to go into a supermarket whilst other people that are not part of one's own two family / households group are in there, & would have to wait outside until everybody else came out. But it doesn't work that way. We're all permitted to go into the Tesco around the corner from Borough Briggs, as long as we follow the agreed precautions of washing / sanitising our hands, wearing a face mask, & keeping our distance from others - & Tesco is responsible for determining if too many people are in there & accordingly restricting capacity - yet we can't go into BB to watch a football match, where similarly capacity could be restricted as deemed necessary / safe. Likewise when Elgin played Lossiemouth in a friendly a couple of weeks back, & everybody could go to the funfair that was set up on the ground beside BB, with nobody restricting capacity, but couldn't go in to watch the football. Logic suggests that if we're trusted to go shopping & go to the funfair, then why not another where similar precautions can be in place? Doesn't it?
  13. Signed! Great initiative! Need to get a groundswell of fans getting behind this
  14. Anybody peaking over the wall yesterday to see the game? Highlights weren't great to pick much up other then the goals. Saw Brora a few times last season & said that they were easily mid-table League 2 standard, so not an entirely surprising result, although Gav's post-match was a beat downbeat on a few areas of the performance.
  15. Saw that McHardy was stretchered off last night with an ankle injury. Doesn't look good. Anybody heard anything on that?
  16. Yes, plenty of options up top. It was only Lossie yesterday so can't get too excited about the scoreline, but given that there were pre-season losses last year to both Lossie & Clach, it's clearly a significant improvement & bodes well. Will be interesting to see how things go in the two games vs ICT.
  17. Good to see that Aiden Sopel has re-signed. Hopefully he'll get his chance this season, after much splinter collecting throughout the last
  18. The HL are going with a 16 game season with 27 available Saturdays so they should have no issue. But League Cup in a new group stage format which will add a few more games, & Scottish Cup (assuming HL / LL included this season), & inevitable weather-related postponements, but should be comfortably do-able, any more Covid issues notwithstanding. Hope that the HL & LL have made things watertight that winners get into play-offs as usual, as can see lower-end SFL2 teams trying to wriggle out of that given half a chance.
  19. A play-off spot has to be the minimum target, & scoring on average two goals a game would go a long way to achieving that. My original thoughts were based on a standard full season, so if we're looking at 27 games / 75% of a usual season, then maybe 2 or 3 12 goals a season strikers & 2 or 3 7-8 goals from midfielders. So that's that rejigged!
  20. He's always been a goalscorer. Think he got 12 or 13 in the first half of the season for Strathspey - when they were decidedly shite - before getting his move to Hibs or wherever it was. Obviously not quite got enough for the higher level, but certainly decent at SFL2. Elgin will need two or three 15 goals-a-season strikers & two or three 8-10 goal contributions from midfielders this season if going to balance out the loss of Shane's goals.
  21. No news on Loveland or Sopel re-signing as yet. The two trial players are unlikely to come in for no money, so I could see both of the youngsters going elsewhere. Hope I'm wrong, but such a shame to see all the good youngsters that the club has developed over the last few years being lost.
  22. Current Elgin squad numbers 16 & is as per https://www.elgincity.net/team/players
  23. Club was in a much better position than many clubs going into lockdown as already something like 12 players contracted through to 2021, so not as much need as other clubs to be super active in the market. Since then players like O'Keefe & Bronsky have re-signed & Macbeath has been added, so probably up to something like 16 now, including young Charlie Hay. The issue that I think they have is that the budget has been reduced due to lockdown, & a lot of that will have been eaten up by the players that are already signed. I know that all those players were asked to accept a pay cut, but don't think that has happened - as Captain, Spark has taken over from Shane as 'shop steward' - so won't be much left for many more signings I'd imagine. Have already mentioned about other lads that were offered amateur terms & decided not to accept & to go elsewhere, so thinking that they'll now need to find a few bob down the back of the Boardroom sofa to entice one or two more.
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