Jul 25 2012 By David Ogilvie
Strathspey Thistle 0 Stirling Albion 4
ALBION left out some of their experienced players but racked up a comfortable victory over their Highland League opponents in a Friday night friendly at Seafield Park in Grantown-on-Spey.
This was part one of a mini- Highland tour – the club’s first such venture since 2003/04, when Allan Moore’s men played Buckie Thistle and Keith before going on to win promotion from Division Three.
Strathspey Thistle were only formed in 1993 and joined the Highland League from the Junior ranks in 2009/10. Only perennial strugglers Fort William finished below them last season and Thistle shipped more than 100 goals as they suffered 29 defeats in 34 games.
But there can be few friendlier clubs in the country and it seems a shame they do not yet meet the stadium criteria for Scottish Cup entry.
Goalkeeper Sam Filler and forward Andy Hunter made their first appearances of pre-season on a lovely evening in the Highlands and the Binos largely controlled the match, with full-backs Richie Kirwan and Danny Ashe almost playing like wingers at times.
Stirling took the lead when midfielder Daly McSorley smashed home a terrific shot from 30 yards after 20 minutes and defender Gary Thom powerfully headed in a Josh Flood corner from the right eight minutes later.
McSorley nodded the third from Hunter's left-wing cross on the hour mark as home appeals for offside were waved away and the scoring was complete two minutes later when the unfortunate Scott Hendry turned a Hunter cross into his own net after good work by the youngster on the left.
The hosts, who begin their Highland League campaign at home to Wick on August 4, missed a couple of good chances to reduce the deficit in the closing stages but were unable to grab a consolation goal as the Binos secured the emphatic win most were expecting. The feeling was that Brora Rangers would provide a much sterner test on the Saturday.
STIRLING ALBION: Filler, Kirwan, Ashe (McGeachie 46), McCulloch (McCunnie 46), Thom, Clark, McSorley (Davidson 80), Flood, Hunter, Brass (Coyne 61), Macpherson. Subs not used: Peat, Allison, Weir.
STRATHSPEY THISTLE: Donaldson, Fraser, Tulloch, Mochan, Hendry, Chisholm, Hardie, Swinton, Babrowski, Robertson, MacDonald. Subs: Wardrope, Smith, Reinsons, Sutherland, Ireland, McRae, McPhee, Ridgers.
Referee: Graham Fraser