If there was ever an argument for summer football in the Highlands it was at Grant Park on Saturday when decent crowd turned out for a first glimpse at Elgin City and Lossiemouth.
After a dismal season last time out Elgin cannot afford any mistakes this year, with relegation from League 2 now a reality under the new pyramid system.
In the Highland League meanwhile Lossiemouth may not be a club quite ready to challenge for promotion – but Stevie Dunn is gathering together a young side that demonstrated towards the end of last season that their term as whipping boys is over.
In a sun-bathed Lossiemouth it was – as you would expect – the Scottish League side who took and early grip on proceedings. Elgin had Archie McPhee on trial with his deal at Nairn County set to expire in two weeks – and the defender turned in a five-star performance that hinted a return to Borough Briggs was on the cards.
Making debuts for Elgin were Mike Fraser in goal and defender Matthew Cooper, while there was also a welcome return for winter Daniel Moore after he had made the switch back to Elgin from Nairn.
It was a delivery from Moore that saw the opening goal for Elgin – Ally MacKenzie left in acres of space after five minutes to divert the ball beyond Watson.
Moore was involved again when he darted clear of the home defence only to be clattered to the turf by a rash challenge from Scott Dunn. City’s leading scorer from last term, Craig Gunn, converted from the spot.
Early in the second half Elgin had a third, Darryl McHardy making the home side pay for a defensive slip-up to blast the ball into the net.
Lossiemouth did not, however, fold and enjoyed their best football of the game in the last half hour.
The Coasters came close a few times and few could argue they deserved a goal that duly arrived 12 minutes from the end, the irrepressible Shawn Scott popping up in the area to clip the ball to Jordan McBain who had time to control and tap home from a few feet.
A good work out for both sides ahead of the new season in just a few weeks time – but the way the turnstiles at Grant Park were ticking over perhaps yet more food for thought for those who advocate summer football.
Full Time: Lossiemouth 1 Elgin City 3
Lossiemouth: Watson, Wilson, Flett, C Ross, Mitchell, G Watson, Fraquhar, Archibald, Scott, Green, Dunn. Subs: Main, Gordon, Stables, T Ross, Miller, McBain, Mathers (Rodger, Ferguson not used).
Elgin City: Fraser, Beveridge, Finlayson, McLean, Cooper, McPhee, Gunn, McHardy, McKenzie, Sutherland, Moore. Subs: Hamilton, Mathieson, Macaulay, Murray, Bayne (Cooke, Wood, Black not used).
Referee: Douglas Ross