Pride of the Isles

Photo by Kenny John Macleod
Photo by Kenny John Macleod

The final whistle brought relief and the realisation of an historic achievement after Lewis and Harris FC claimed the North Caledonian Cup.

The team were well prepared on the day and took a detour from their Ullapool to Alness journey to meet privately in a Dingwall Hotel two hours before kick-off.

Whilst there, Manager Billy Flower’s team talk focussed on the need for belief, discipline and an individual will to win mentality. The squad were definitely listening.

After 26 minutes Robert Mackenzie hit the net with a superb strike and the team’s tenacious defence kept a clean sheet for the islanders.

Billy Flower said: “A lot of the game was backs-to-the-wall defending, but there is an art to defending and I thought we defended superbly well as a complete unit.

“They all played superbly well, and I don’t want to single out individual players for special praise as it was made clear from the start of the campaign that, win or lose, this would be a squad effort.

“I’ve immense, immense pride for a group of players who have worked extremely hard over the past three months and I’m so pleased that they have received this reward.

“I have been involved with local football for over thirty years and I can’t remember working with such a tight, close squad.

“They are a very talented group of footballers who listen, train and play to their strengths and when you consider that in only three months together they have taken on and beaten, Orkney F C , Shetland F C, Sutherland United F C and Golspie Sutherland F C you begin to realise the magnitude of their historic achievement.

“As their manager, I thank and congratulate each one of them.

“Their conduct has been impeccable both on and off the field and on their behalf I would like to thank the football club chairman, Mr Kenny Maciver, and his small but hard working committee for all their efforts behind the scenes.

“Thanks also to our club sponsors who helped make this dream a reality and from me personally a huge thank you to my management team of Dano Macdonald (Coach) and Angus “Tanky” Macdonald ( kit/physio).

“The boys celebrated their victory at a private party on Saturday evening and it was an honour to be there with them as the reality of their achievement began to sink in.

“Time for them to have a break - it has been a long season - and recharge their batteries ready for their next challenge - The Jock Mackay Cup which will begin with a tie against Thurso in late January 2015”.