Highland: Big-game Hunter bags three as Locos build up a head of steam

Loco's Andrew Hunter, who scored a hat trick. Picture by Darrell Benns

Hat-trick hero Andy Hunter insists Inverurie Locos have their sights set on a second place finish in the Highland League.

Hunter notched a treble in the Railwaymen’s 5-1 win over Deveronvale at Harlaw Park.

That sees them move two points clear of Fraserburgh in second, although they have played two games more than the Broch.

Hunter knows Cove are likely to win the title, but says their focus is on trying to secure a Challenge Cup spot and finishing as high as they can.

The striker said: “That’s what it’s about, turning up, putting in good performances and coming away with the three points, which we did.

“We were up 2-0 and the game started to get a bit tame, everyone was a little too comfortable. When their goal went in we had to pick ourselves back up again.

“First, we are looking to get a top-four place and guarantee a Challenge Cup place and pushing on from that and trying to finish as high as we can.

“We want to get as many points as we can and push on into second.”

The pick of Hunter’s goals was his second and Locos’ third.

He collected the ball on halfway and embarked on a brilliant solo run to the edge of the box and then fired low into the bottom right corner.

Hunter added: “It was good, I got on the half turn and saw the space. There were two players up with me but being a striker and being greedy I went myself and took the chance.”

Boss Neil Cooper said: “I think we dominated the game from start to finish.

“It was a great hat-trick from Andy and I can only credit both sets of players because the conditions were very difficult for both teams.

“I thought in the conditions we passed the ball really well and it was great to finish the game so strongly.

“We’re in second and we know Fraserburgh have got games in hand and so have other teams.

“But we just have to keep winning. We’ve got Lossiemouth on Saturday and we just need to make sure we keep putting in the same performances between now and the end of the season. The players have been fantastic and deserve all the credit.”

Vale first-team coach Craig Stewart said: “I thought we played okay, but going forward we didn’t do enough and defensively our frailties came to the fore again.”

Connor RENNIE opened the scoring just after the half hour heading home Neil McLean’s corner from the left.

HUNTER made it 2-0 on 55 minutes from eight yards after a wonderful pass from Stuart Duff. The Banffers responded in the 80th minute when Robert Scott rolled home from 15 yards after being left alone.

On 87 minutes HUNTER got his stunning second before tapping home a McLean cutback for the hat-trick and Jordan LEYDEN’S 14-yard angled drive made it 5-1 late on.