Thursday, August 14, 2014

Kicking our heels , waiting for the day……


Glenurquhart 7 Kingussie 0 (Marine Harvest North Division 1)
It’s now getting near to the business end of the season for the Glen. No need to dwell on what that might entail but it is certainly appropriate to deal with the most recent match-the North Division 1 home game against Kingussie. The main problem confronting Manager Iain Macleod’s selection plans was Belladrum and quite frankly it looks like that is going to be an on-going problem for shinty in the Inverness area. The majority of the young lads in the second time opted to go to Belladrum, so Iain Macleod’s team had to pull in a number of players from the first team which fortunately enough had no fixture.


There was no other alternative though certainly included in the side were three younger lads who have not really featured much in the side so far this season- and they were probably too young to head to Belladrum without adult supervision. Whatever - the team which turned out was an extremely strong side and it faced up to a Kingussie side which with the exceptions of Russell Menzies, Scott Macintyre, Rory Mackeachan and Chris Hollysong was their current under-17 squad. The old guys whom we have faced in the past were absent for various reasons and none was missed more than Kevin Thain, though Ronald Ross could probably have just squeaked into the team if he had not been needed elsewhere.

Given Glen’s experienced side - the main top teamers were Arran Macdonald and Lewis Maclennan - there was only ever going to be one result so the interest lay in how the game was played. It was, despite the final score, very interesting not to say entertaining at least as far as the first half went. Indeed Kingussie started strongly because they have some lovely young shinty players in their side and the experienced Glen defenders - lack of personnel meant that Drew MacNeil had to fill in at full back and with Stuart Reid and Paul Mackintosh also in the defence - had to look lively to keep up with the willing running of Jack and Ruaraidh Anderson as well as that of James Falconer who has already played at Drum this season in the Kings’ first team despite his tender years. It is always tricky for an experienced senior player to play against a much smaller player because physical challenges are so unequal they are bound to look unfair and so the only thing that can be done is to use one’s experience to read the game better and move the ball quickly.
 Glen took a little while to adapt to this and for the first ten minutes they were all over the place - and in that period Kingussie had a chance to go ahead but hit the bar with a drive.
 
After this period Glen’s strong centre line took control of the game and from this point on it became one way traffic. In 15 minutes Glen pressure forced a penalty which Lewis Maclennan struck home superbly.


The Glen’s second goal came in 24 minutes when a corner out on the right evaded the Kingussie defence and Maclennan glanced the ball past Kingussie keeper Russell Menzies from a narrow angle. Two minutes later Bradley Dickson, whose pace was proving a problem for the visiting defence, picked up a through ball from the Glen centreline and turned it out to Raymond Robertson and his low shot found its way into the corner of the Kingussie net for Glen’s third goal of the afternoon. Then the game from a Glen perspective went flat – though Kingussie continued to perform well in attack whenever the ball came through while their defence especially Macintyre and the increasingly acrobatic Menzies stood firm and kept the score at half-time down to 3-0.

 
 
 
 
The second half was a big improvement in that the side showed a more positive approach to their shinty. The introduction of James Macpherson and the fact that the side went 2-2 up front helped spread the Kingussie defence a little more effectively which in the end created chances which eventually were taken. Lewis Maclennan completed his hat trick in 60 minutes with a well taken strike and then the Glen’s fifth came when Kingussie keeper Menzies stopped a high ball from Maclennan with his chest but failed to clear it decisively and James Macpherson fired it home from a narrow angle. Youngster Ryan Porter got the next goal for Glen when he followed up a strike to poke the ball home from close range in 69 minutes and Macpherson smashed home the seventh goal of the afternoon two minutes later.
By this stage Glen had introduced their two remaining youngsters Jon Bremner and Jamie Maclennan and the latter was denied a goal by a fine save from Russell Menzies who, despite a slip or two, played well all afternoon.
 
 
He seemed very keen on entertaining the crowd on one occasion by firing a loose ball out of the field, across the A82, over Alistair the Baker’s house and into the wood. This probably puts him up on that small list of the Glen all-time greats because it’s hard to think of many apart from Donald Paul Mackintosh and Arran Macdonald who can comfortably hit the ball right over that house. Lewis Maclennan once put the ball down a chimney in St Drostan’s but that is another story.
In the end Glen won 7-0 convincingly and it is always hard to pat yourself on the back after a match like this because Kingussie had a much less experienced team on the field. However the performance of the Glen’s youngest players - Ryan Porter, Jamie Maclennan and Jon Bremner - gives cause for optimism for the future. Drew Maclennan at full centre was however the best Glenner on the day : he is always an intense and committed player and the only disappointment is that he took a nasty blow on the foot in the last two minutes of the match which means he must now must be a doubt for next Saturday.
 
Elsewhere Ronald Ross won the other Camanachd semi for Kingussie with a goal in real time and two penalties in the shootout at the end. He kept his technique and his nerve and got both balls on target out of what was basically a mini-bunker. Credit too must also go to Kings goalie Craig Dawson who made the saves that mattered - the Wing Centre should have been more generous to the big fellow when describing goalies last week. He kept the Glen out in the Premier League game in Kingussie and he did the same with the Fort penalties on Saturday. We have no snaps of Mr Dawson but we do of the King’s keeper who came to Drum this past week. That is why the focus this week in the pictures will be on visiting keeper Russell Menzies. He did struggle a bit, for obvious reasons, when the rain started to get heavier. There is also a snap of the Kingussie old guys on the sidelines.
 
Apparently the Glen face up to Skye in the other Camanachd Semi this weekend. The Wing Centre will not go to the game because seeing it will obviously prejudice his opinion when he comes to write about it next week -or not- as the case may be. Instead he will watch it on TV- Gilleasbuig should be required to commentate rather than play- but he will switch off the sound and listen to Ally Bruce on Cuillin FM.    Why? Just because.
Thanks to Sheena Lloyd for most of the pictures and to Donald Cameron for his help too, His picture is number 7.

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Friday, August 08, 2014

Glen are love-bombed by the English Shinty Association-but not by Kinlochshiel.

A disappointing 3-3 draw away against Kinlochshiel - though not upsetting to Shiel since the Glen’s lack of concentration has allowed their opponents another year in the top flight. Fair enough. Truthfully there is not a lot between the sides in the Premier and for that matter some of the sides in the National are fair enough too especially Fort William. Skye who are in North 1 are good too - too good apparently for their lowly division - though perhaps more of that later.
This last game at Kirkton perhaps encapsulates all that is good and not good about the Glen.
Fraser Heath started up front for the Glen and put the red and blacks ahead in 6 minutes with a superb strike when he picked up a through ball on the left, ran through the Shiel defence and fired an unstoppable shot past opposing keeper Scott Kennedy for the opener. Shiel also had their chances in this early part of the match but the best of their strikes which came from front man Gordy Macdonald was comfortably saved by Glen’s keeper Stuart Mackintosh. 
To the uninitiated of the Western world it probably looked like a superb save but “Smack” does that sort of thing every week – and if he didn’t he would find his place under pressure from Glen’s No 2 David MacFadyen who would be a first choicer in every other Premier outfit except Lovat and Inveraray. Kyles? Time Kenny was packing it in: he’s now older than all the managers and some of the referees. 
Glen scored a second goal in 25 minutes when Arran Macdonald and Fraser Heath combined neatly to put Neale Reid into a shooting situation and his drive deflected off the caman of Finlay Macrae into the net. It seemed a pity to credit Macrae with an own goal and deprive Reid of a goal to add to his tally. However just before half time the Glen should have gone 3 up when Reid was presented with a 1on1 situation with keeper Kennedy but this time he fired the ball wide.

It was a rejuvenated Shiel which came out in the second half with Keith Macrae reintroduced to the fray after starting the game on the bench due to a groin strain. He did make a difference but that was after Glen had to rejig their side due to a nasty head knock suffered by Fraser Heath caused by a careless piece of caman control from Shiel full back Paul Macrae who was rightly yellow carded for the offence.

The setback unsettled the Glen - Heath unusually had been playing up front to avoid confrontations of this sort before the Camanachd semi-final - and that allied to poor defending allowed Keith Macrae to win and then convert a free hit in the 60th minute. The momentum was now with Shiel and they equalised soon after through Duncan Macrae.The Glen management then reluctantly reintroduced Heath – heavily bandaged and also pushed defender Lewis Maclennan up front. John Barr who had also sat the game out with an eye on the semi, made an appearance late on and consequently the Glen once again took the lead with a superb goal from Neale Reid created once again by Heath.

That should have been enough for the Glen given that the clock was rapidly running down.  Shiel however had other ideas which given their League situation they certainly ought to have had and by dint of a mighty effort Gordy MacDonald managed to create an equaliser more or less all by himself.
Any lessons from this experience? Certainly. Take your chances and don’t give away silly goals. There is no doubt that the Glen went into this match with more than an eye on the Camanachd semi - the League competition at this stage is meaningless. Conventional wisdom says that Shiel wanted it more: what was disappointing though was that the Glen defenders lost three goals. One notable fixture apart the Glen defence has usually been miserly over giving away goals; they will have to be so once again. Best Glenner on the day? Probably Eddie Tembo who worked right to the end.
Anyway that was the season that was! No more home games for the top team and all those tourists won’t get charged a thing. Actually we should turn Blairbeg into a campsite for the next month or two.
Elsewhere, Kingussie did not hain the squad in their match against Newtonmore: it was a match which Newtonmore needed to win to clinch the League for themselves before Lovat, no doubt looking forward to a sesh at Belladrum, gifted it to them on Saturday. The difference? The return of the master. Ronald Ross is back with no doubt an eye to yet another Camanachd Cup win. Quite right too. Ronald is a top player; he could score goals with a walking stick and the prospect of playing Fort William in a semi and no Addie Robertson marking him will seem like a skoosh. He will probably even have done some training. Add to that the fact that Fort William do not look to have a defence capable of holding out both Ronald and Savio for a full 90 minutes. The one good thing is that Ronald certainly won’t be up against the Glen second team at Drum though with all their children most probably at Belladrum Blairbeg can look forward to hosting the mad old Uncles- Kevin, Michael and Rory. It’ll be a treat for the tourists to see these old monsters on Loch Ness side.
 

Last week too the Glen hosted the English Shinty Association which was nice, though it was sad to see that nearer home Lochbroom could not even manage to get a side together for a home game.  Our visitors were very friendly though one poor lassie had been very badly bitten by the midgies in Glenfinnan- and will probably not want to come back up to Pictland ever again. People should really be told to keep away from Glenfinnan (and Invergarry for that matter) for the whole of July and August on account of midgies and gartans both of which leave marks on everybody not just the summer visitors. No one would go to India in the monsoon or to Florida in the hurricane season so why do we give the impression that the West Highlands are a tourist attraction in July/August. Better to come to Loch Ness-side and the East Highland coast where the midge is an endangered species.

The English visitors trained with the Glen – and it has to be said that some of them had a clearer idea of what training actually meant than some Glenners –though when it came to sampling the hospitality in the Loch Ness Inn the Glenners usually have a fair idea of what that entails. There was the presentation of a ball and a shirt and the crack in the pub was how it used to be before teams got all professional and cleared off back home to play a round of golf before sunset. In the winter, in the old days, that wasn’t an option.

 
The decent pictures as always are from Neil Paterson. Thanks to him – again as always. The other pictures are from somebody else. The most symbolic picture is of English captain Matt Mossop receiving a replica shirt from Davie and Billy though the Treasurer wonders why we did not give them an old Glen shirt with Gleesons on it since they were an English company and we have heaps of them that we no longer wear. On the TV in the background is the Commonwealth Games. No it’s not a political statement ;nor is it ironic: it’s just what happened.

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Friday, August 01, 2014

Is the season over already?

Glenurquhart 2 Strathglass 0 (Marine Harvest North Division 1)
Inveraray 0 Glenurquhart 2 (Orion Premier League)

The Queen, who is well informed about all matters in her realm, must have wondered if the little hiccup with the Commonwealth Baton had its origins in the Glen.

The ceremonial piece of hardware had after all been in the Glen not much more than a fortnight before – and given the enduring reputation of the Glen with regard to its handling of trophies, Her Majesty must have wondered whether the baton had received a wee knock on the napper during its sojourn at Blairbeg. In Glasgow it would not unscrew to reveal the message she had hidden in it months earlier. Had it been dropped or bashed in any way whilst in the custody of the Glenurquhart shinty team?

Whether it had or not, the said baton was eventually opened up and the nation and the Glen breathed a collective sigh of relief and was then permitted to carry on with its number one non Commonwealth sport - the ancient game of Caledonia.

In Drum that meant facing up to ancient rivals Strathglass in a Marine Harvest North Division League fixture. Glen had a stronger team than they had put out the week before – though the Hosie brothers were still sadly absent - but the return of the previous week’s draftees for the Kingussie game, Raymond Robertson and Ross MacAulay, boosted the side considerable. The calm presence of Drew MacNeil at full back also helped and the fact that referee John Macgregor of Oban was in charge was also a plus. Macgregor who is in the early stages of his career as a ref, was a superb senior shinty player in his day and this writer for one judged that his presence on the field would ensure that the Glen youngsters – and the Strath ones for that matter- would receive competent oversight for the whole 90 minutes.

Strathglass opened up in lively fashion and for a good part of the early play seemed to be the dominant force. They took up a fair few good positions but the Glen defence held firm with Ewan Menzies in particular providing top class cover. Youngster Lachie Smith on one side and not so youngster Paul Mackintosh on the other played well against lively opposition with Lewis Douglas and youngster Jono Price showing lively skills. Gary Reid however was unable to get past MacNeill with any conviction and when shots went through, -there were a fair number- Glen keeper David MacFadyen was in excellent form though his tendency to come off his line, while comparable to German soccer keeper Manuel Neuer, was a bit scary to the faithful though perhaps explicable because of his origins.  David was you see, brought up in south shinty and with a role model locally in Inveraray’s flying keeper Graham Macpherson, a man who thinks a line is never for toeing, it’s no wonder the lad takes off after balls that are only vaguely in the same postcode as he is.
Gradually the Glen began to mount more sustained attacks and Cairn Urquhart and Robertson began to trouble the Strath defence who were missing one or two of their more experienced defenders as well as the most ancient of their front men, Robert Geddes. Finally just before half time, Glen took a lead which they more or less deserved : Ross MacAulay drove the ball forward, Cameron Maclennan dummied it and player/manager Iain Macleod was on hand to ram it into the net from close range.
The second half saw the Glen dominate the game more – and captain Bradley Dickson sealed the win when he picked up a cross field ball, dribbled it into the “D” and tapped it home from a couple of feet. Strath tried hard to come back but were unable to do so while Glen rang the changes bringing on youngster Rory Maclean who almost snatched a third goal in the dying moments. Other youngsters like Jamie Maclennan and finally Finlay Robertson were given a run out and all performed well against what has been a side which has posted some decent results this season, boasts good players like Josh Fraser and the Reid brothers but somehow seems to have lost its way.

The other result at the Winterton was equally welcome. After what seemed like an age with no-one daring to phone down to find out how the game was going the text came through that Glen were leading thanks to a David Smart goal. By Glen accounts on a crackly line - the raindrops were louder than gunshots on Herd’s Hill - the guys played well especially in the first 25 minutes when they were on top though the conditions, as the papers would have said if they could have been bothered reporting it, were very difficult for both sides. Inveraray then dug in with their well-practised techniques of last ditch defending and the score remained unchanged until Lewis Maclennan bagged a second 8 minutes from time.

Before that of course Glen had balls in the net ruled off and Inveraray also had one chalked off and as usually happens everyone became irate. But they all made up and they were fine about it because let’s face it, it did not matter. What mattered for the Glen was that no one was injured or booked and ref Lachie Wood kept a handle on the game well -  a difficult thing to do when the park was as the west coasters would say “dampish”.  
 
Possibly the Campbell weather gods might look down favourably from the clouds if the Canaries renamed their pitch “The Summerton” rather than stuck with the old estate name “The Winterton”. Even a Gaelic name might help - but then the hospitality afterwards was good and the lads even reported that in “The George” they keep the vodka in the fridge which was more sophisticated than was necessary for the Glenners present but they appreciated it just the same.
 

 
Of more interest than the actual game was the fact that Mr Reid puts his money where his mouth is. This was obvious from his appearance. Clearly the Drum dental practice had supplied Mr Reid with shiny new teeth - and apparently Dr Dodo had fixed up the mouths of a number of other Glen residents with gleaming gnashers too as these snaps will testify.

The last Premier League game is now upon us - and we face a gameless wait until the Camanachd semi. The full English tourist season has not even started properly in the Glen yet we have no games left at home for the top team - not a happy situation for club income reports the Treasurer.
The photos of the Inveraray match are from Sheena Lloyd: the teeth ones are from Meg Mackintosh. The ones of the baton are from the Wing Centre’s phone - where else?

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Heath wonder goal Blairbeggars belief

Glenurquhart 2 Kingussie 1 (Orion Group Premier League)
It was a game which looked to always be going to proceed in its own unexciting way: it really didn’t matter about the result. Of course you say it’s important but given where the Glen and Kingussie both are in the League it was not all that important. In truth it was a day for half watching a match, blethering to the Kingussie visitors and hoping that none of the Glen players on the field picked up a booking or an injury. There was a little stir of interest amongst the spectators in as much as Ronaldo was back: he has been out for most of the season and his return is probably not unconnected with the fact that Kingussie have made it through to the Camanachd semis.
You would also have to say that despite the lack of a pile of players, Savio Genini and Lee Bain being two notable absentees, Kings  looked lively at the start and had a couple of early chances neither of which fell to big Ron though he looked good enough but not what he used to be back in the day. Glen struggled to get forward and looked a little off the pace in parts but then again that was only to be expected given that Glen were a pile of players short too-Neale Reid and Dixie Maclennan were banned for going over the points level while Euan Lloyd and James Hurwood  were injured or unwell.

That meant a step up for Raymond Robertson and Ross MacAulay but put massive pressure on an already weakened second team due to face Strathglass on the same afternoon.
Then it happened-26 minutes into the match: Fraser Heath picked up a ball just up from the centreline, juggled it up over Kingussie defender Barry Dallas, ran with it bouncing on his stick and then volleyed it into the net. Goal of the Glen season? Pretty much though James “Frosty” Macpherson has also rattled home some beauties but nothing so far like that. The game then continued with the Glen for a period more dominant since Kingussie appeared to be shell-shocked at the outrageous nature of the goal they had just lost.

Just after halftime Glen picked up a second goal when James Hutchison gave Macpherson just too much time and he hit a powerful shot which Kingussie keeper Craig Dawson did get a hand to, but could not keep out of the net. It certainly came through a group of players and the keeper was probably unsighted till late on.

That probably should have been it but Kingussie continued to look lively and they had a series of opportunities to be more accurate than they were. During this short spell the Glen centreline seemed to be ineffective in as much as they could not prevent their Kingussie opponents from knocking the ball back.  Then in 56 minutes after a nice piece of interplay the ball was slipped inside to Ronald Ross and he hit it hard and low from distance through a ruck of players to put Kingussie apparently back in the match and himself apparently back in first team contention. Indeed if Kingussie get past Fort William in the Camanachd semi, which they should since Gary Innes is not going to be playing, it is unthinkable that they would play a Camanachd final without Ronaldo in the squad if he was fit.


 
 The news now is that he is fit, not as sharp as he was obviously, but then he is just on the way back to fitness – and he still seems to have the ability to score. He also missed a sitter too which is not the sort of thing you would normally expect from him: it will probably not happen again.
Glen rearranged matters in the centreline at this point and the ship stabilised to allow both teams to fight out the rest of the match on even terms: Glen had a number of chances including a number of free hits which they forced out of the usual no compromise Kingussie back line- but that all came to nothing.
 
 They also showed some nice patches of interplay which set up some half chances- Raymond Robertson showed some skill and fire in this stage of the match - but Dallas and Hutchison were solid and if given a chance to clear they did so efficiently. If they were absent Dawson certainly wasn't.
 
 At the other end Kingussie forced a number of chances themselves but wayward shooting and equally solid defending from Stuart Reid and Lewis Maclennan kept them at bay. Ross MacAulay who came on late did well and Mike Brady stuck to a difficult task against youngster James Falconer. Falconer is clearly an up and coming talent for Kingussie but though strong, still looks very much a youngster physically though he has a good deal of pace. The problem for a defender against a player of this type is that he is difficult to deal with and if he gets knocked over in a challenge it can easily look like he is being fouled. To Mike Brady’s credit, in what was a frustrating afternoon, he stuck to his task and as the afternoon wore on he came on to a sound game.
 
In the end Glen held on to win what was a tight game though Kingussie had more missed attempts on goal than the Glen. On the target Glen did better but only marginally- and it is as always in sport all about slight margins.
The other match at Strathglass saw manager Iain Macleod struggle to get a full set of players to make the game. In order to manage things he was required to dig deep into under 17 resources which at holiday time is not an easy task. However, Ryan Porter, Liam Robertson, Finlay Robertson and Lachie Smith all stepped up to the plate while Dan Mackintosh returned and future Camanachd President Jim Barr also pulled on the black and red stripes for an outing. Cameron Maclennan was up front but the absence of the Hosie brothers, Donald Fraser, Raymond Robertson, Ross MacAulay, Duncan Fraser and Bradley Dixon meant that the side struggled to play coherently. The fact that it was a wet afternoon was also not conducive to good shinty. However Strath scored two early goals and three late ones though the stats table does not indicate the times at which the goals were scored which is a pity. However, Strath will be down in Drum for the return fixture this Saturday and it would be good if there were enough players available to give them a more competitive game. After some excellent showings and some narrow defeats in the cups it would be a good note on which to wind down the season.

The pictures this week are from Neil Paterson and Sheena Lloyd. Best one is the snap of manager Maclean working out the tactics. Look how the position of the tongue shows his total concentration. Bless!


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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Glen torch Lovat’s title hopes-maybe!


Glenurquhart 1 Lovat 1 (Orion Group Premiership)
If you had said at the beginning of the week that Glenurquhart would go over the hill to Kiltarlity without a pile of players and end up nearly winning the match-in fact they more or less chucked it away-then no one would have believed you. But let’s deal with that a little later.
The real shinty story in the Glen however was about Helen and the Torch. For the last few weeks the Commonwealth Games torch has been wending its way around Scotland giving everyone a wee stake in the sporting extravaganza for which only the lucky few can get any tickets. Some time back it was announced that amongst the local runners the Glen’s own Helen Maclennan was to run with the torch somewhere in Drum. Helen has a long record of service to shinty in the Glen: she is the lady who organises the youth development and training, washes the strips, oversees the café rotas, bakes cakes, serves on the finance committee and takes the minutes for the meetings – and doubtless there are many other things that have been overlooked. To mark Helen’s big day the club organised a wee festival on the field with a bouncy castle, some father and son 6 a side shinty matches – and as a perfect opening touch Helen entered the field and was able to run through an arch of crossed camans-and everyone from the youngest to the oldest had a chance to touch the fabled torch. By good fortune too, the fact that Kingussie had called off their second team match meant that there was a plentiful supply of bacon and rolls to sell to the punters from the pavilion window. The only dark spot on the day was that Police Scotland who made many friends as they escorted the baton through the village and high-fived the kids also contrived to lose them immediately by mounting a wee speed-trap up at the old Free Church Manse on the way to Milton. The decision to have a speed trap there on the day of the Queen’s Baton arrival can have only come from the same strategic genius who thinks it appropriate to arm the police as they patrol the streets of Inverness on Saturday evenings. Where does he think they are? Dodge City?

Despite that cavil, it was a very pleasant start to a day that went on to become even better when the first team went to Balgate and won a point. The Glen went over the hill minus Lewis Maclennan, Ally Mackintosh, Euan Lloyd and David Maclennan. In addition to that James Hurwood who started was carrying an ankle injury while both Fraser Heath and David Smart had been ill earlier in the week and by rights probably should have taken a break. Lovat were without Kevin Bartlett, Michael Mackenzie and Drew Howie but given the fact that the game should have meant something to them they were certainly expected to prove the stronger side.

How wrong can you be? Lovat seemed not to be 100% focused on this match- and the Glen had a gilt-edged chance to go ahead early in the match when ref Graham Cameron awarded a penalty for a foul by Lovat keeper Stuart Macdonald. James Macpherson took the hit but did not hit it as cleanly as he ought to and Macdonald was able to get his feet to the strike.
A few minutes later Lovat’s Calum MacAulay out on the left fired a ball in at goal from a narrow angle but though he got his hand to the shot, Glen keeper Stuart Mackintosh was unable to prevent it going into the net.
David Smart who was suffering from a sickness bug was replaced by Billy Urquhart after half an hour. Glen co-managers Billy MacLean and Dave Menzies had to further re-jig the team on 37 minutes when defender James Hurwood had to come off when he went over his ankle again.

Andrew Corrigan, who had started at full centre, dropped back into defence. John Barr left the forward line to take over in midfield whilst attacker Smart returned to the field of play. The fact that Barr took up position against MacTavish man of the match Ryan Ferguson was probably decisive because though not fully fit, the Glen’s international defender has a physical presence that Ferguson struggled to deal with for the rest of the match.

Arran Macdonald in the centreline also gave an impressive performance- and when he plays at full tilt in the centreline as he has been over the past while then he adds an extra dimension to the red and black squad.

Eddie Tembo was replaced for a time by Ewan Menzies at half time and the youngster went on to have a fine match . There were of course chances at both ends just a couple of minutes into the second half. First former Glen under 17 player Graeme MacMillan set up Lorne MacKay and he fired a backhand shot through a ruck of players but keeper Mackintosh was able to deflect the ball for a corner. The corner was quickly cleared and Glen broke forward swiftly at the end of which James MacPherson forced a similar save from Stuart Macdonald who also turned the ball away for a corner.

Crucial to the Glen effectiveness was defender Stuart Reid who managed to contain Lovat’s Lorne Mackay and generally matched him throughout the afternoon though on one occasion late in the match Mackay got clear and might have done better but his shot flew just wide of the target. As the game proceeded the Glen came more into the match and to push for the point the Glen management team pushed Fraser Heath up into the front line and pulled Corrigan back to buckshee. This worked well although Lorne Mackay managed to get one long shot on target which as expected Stuart Mackintosh stopped comfortably. At the other end Glen created chances and eventually Billy Urquhart found the space and time to fire the ball home to make it 1-1.

Glen then had a chance to push for the game and created a number of pressure situations until just before the end of the match Fraser Heath fired a rocket hard and low towards the Lovat goal but Macdonald was once again present to do what he does best - pull off an exceptional stop to deny the Glen the points.   
Lovat can still win the League but however you spin it they could have done with not dropping a point. Still they had the best of the banter. Full back Fraser Gallagher was being harassed by the Drum support about his specially styled mouth guard- a fetching item in black and white which makes his mouth look like its full of sharks teeth with black gaps between them. Scary!
“Come on, Fraser. Give us a smile” shouted the Glen crowd as Fraser ran to clear up an early Drum attack. He fired the ball clear.
“Ok, “he said and duly produced a black and white leer.
Then he added “My Mam says it’s my best feature.”
The Glen crowd liked that piece of banter almost as much as the point - but not quite.

With the exception of the first picture (captured from the BBC)  and the last (captured by the "D") all the pictures are from Sheena Lloyd. Sorry about the "bug eyes" , Cork.  Why this one of Mike Brady sitting down? He had such a good game that he was always too fast to catch in an action shot. Here he is after the match. We could have done with him in the MacTavish. 

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