Published: 28/09/2017 11:30 - Updated: 26/09/2017 15:26

Clach boss Polworth targets push up the Highland League

Written byPaul Chalk

 

Clach celebrate after Liam Shewan’s goal to made it 4-0.
Clach celebrate after Liam Shewan’s goal to made it 4-0.
IAIN Polworth wants his Clach side to carry on from their stunning William Hill Scottish Cup win – by turning chances and goals into Highland League points.

The Merkinchers crushed albeit toiling Fort William 8-0 in the first round of the cup on Saturday thanks to a Dan MacLennan hat-trick, Liam Shewan double and goals from Stuart Leslie, Matty Grant and Blair Lawrie.

 

That earned the Lilywhites a second round tie away to Lowland League hot-shots Spartans on October 14.

However, Clach return to league business this Saturday when they face Strathspey Thistle at Grant Street and will be seeking to kick on after drawing 2-2 at Huntly almost two weeks ago.

The Inverness team are 14th in the table, with just three wins from their opening 11 fixtures, but are nine points clear of the Jags, who are just above Fort William at the foot of the table.

Polworth wants to see his team show consistency in terms of their league results now to kick on in the competition.

He added: "It’s important for us to convert good performances into points. I felt we dropped two points last time out against Huntly, so we need to get a run together in the league, starting against Strathspey before we go to Fort William the week after."

The Lilywhites were in ruthless form against Fort William, who have just one point on the board in the league this season.

One week on from their 2-2 draw at Huntly, Polworth was delighted to see his men turn on the style at Grant Street Park.

They flew out the traps – a double from MacLennan and a goal from Leslie had them 3-0 ahead after just 15 minutes.

Fort dug in without suffering any more damage before the break, but the Merkinchers upped their game in the second half.

Shewan hit a double, defender Grant and winger Lawrie got on the scoresheet and MacLennan completed his hat-trick for a cracking afternoon for the Lilywhites.

As the dust settled, they found out in the draw that they will be the visitors to Selkirk, who got through under the floodlights on Friday night in a 3-0 victory at home to Vale of Leithen.

Spartans are third in the Lowland League and a win in their game in hand would move them to within three points of leaders BSC Glasgow and above champions East Kilbride.

Polworth admits a game away to Spartans would not have been his first pick.

He explained: "The draw could certainly have been a lot kinder to us.

"Spartans are doing well in their league and they play on a plastic pitch. Iain MacCuish, a Clach legend is down there as a coach and we will have them watched, but there’s plenty of football to be played before that comes round."

He was pleased, however, to have shown some style in getting through with ease against Fort William.

He said: "The main thing is just about getting through.

"The second goal was probably the one that killed it for them because it came just 30 seconds after the restart and involved nice play for Stuart and Dan. That set the tone for the rest of the game."

* The full second round draw for the Scottish Cup is: Banks O’Dee v Selkirk, Berwick Rangers v Annan Athletic, Buckie Thistle v BSC Glasgow or Dalbeattie Star, Civil Service Strollers v Brora Rangers, Cowdenbeath v East Kilbride, Deveronvale v Glenafton Athletic, Edinburgh City v Stenhousemuir, Edinburgh University v Fraserburgh, Elgin City v Edusport Academy or Rothes, Formartine United v East Stirlingshire, Keith v Clyde, Montrose v Wick Academy or University of Stirling, Nairn County v Cove Rangers, Peterhead v Colville Park, Spartans v Clach, Stirling Albion v Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale.

Ties to be played the weekend of October 14.

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