Three goals in the space of five second-half minutes ensured there would be no upset at the Meadows on Saturday as Camanachd Cup semi-finalists Fort William eased to a 5-0 win over bottom-of-the-table Bute.
The island side were arguably better over the 90 minutes than in their 2-0 defeat at home to Beauly seven days previously, and though Gary Innes’ 10th-minute strike gave Fort William the interval advantage, there were enough signs from Bute in the opening half to suggest that the final outcome might not be the foregone conclusion many had expected beforehand.
But those hopes went up in smoke around the hour mark: firstly when Bute full-back Graham Fisher met a Jay MacLeod corner with a clinical finish which unfortunately found the back of his own net, and then, with the hosts reeling, when Arran MacPhee was left in acres of space on the far side of the D and rifled a shot past Bute keeper Kevin Queen and into the corner of the net.
Two minutes later Innes and Gordie Mackinnon set up MacPhee for his second and the visitors’ fourth, and the Fort man might have had a hat-trick but for a smart stop by Queen, who had another superb afternoon between the sticks for Bute.
Fortunately Bute were able to gather themselves together and prevent the collapse which briefly looked a possibility, though a well-worked set-piece enabled Daniel Stewart to add a fifth for the visitors on 73 minutes.