Discovering the Power of Positive Thinking-umm –not sure about that.
“You have to be more positive,” said the Master Plumber to the Wing Centre as they drove along the A82 in pursuit of enlightenment. “Shinty has continued over the years despite all its difficulties. Just like the Games. The last thing it needs is someone being depressed about it: that will just make it worse…”
The Wing Centre had been ranting about something he saw in the Courier. Piles of money was being promised for sports facilities at the Bught - a velodrome, a rugbydrome, a tennisdrome- but he did not read anything about a shintydrome! It worried him that Inverness would lose its outside Bught pitch to a caravan park- and that there was no word of doing up the old wooden shinty stand at the very home of the native sport. How could the Camanachd Association have let that go by without a cheep? When you needed them, where were all the Councillors who had drunk the free Glenmorangie in the past and eaten the Marine Harvest smoked salmon vol-au-vents more recently?
Indeed, where was Donald Stewart when you needed him?
The Master Plumber was not impressed. “I’m too busy living in the here and now to worry about existential problems especially when they are concerned with shinty. Things will work out. After all Highlanders couldn’t make up their minds whether to spell their names Macdonald or MacDonald. And even then they were never sure if it was Mc or Mac. What happened? Nothing. They still all got called up for the First War and bit the dust in equal numbers with or without a capital. Both teams won on Saturday - why don’t we talk about that?”
And so the conversation in the van turned to the fact that Iain Macleod’s bunch of kids had crossed the watershed to take on a Lochcarron/Lochbroom select and managed to come back with two points. One goal scored but two points granted.
It turned out that Dunk Achtuie got the goal and that a description had been given that implied it was a fabulous strike. Cairn Urquhart had fired a shot across the field from some distance out and Dunk had seemingly stuck up his stick, guided the ball on to the oxter of a passing guillemot from whence it rebounded, confusing Lochcarron goalkeeper Peter Mackenzie and ended up in the net. It was a goal that will live for ever in the annals of Glen shinty lore.
At the other end Glen keeper David MacFadyen had a couple of excellent early saves before turning acrobatic in order to save a screamer from Gregor Cushnie. Lochcarron put in plenty effort but full back Paul Mackintosh stood firm supported by James Hurwood, Lachie Smith and Liam Robertson. The rest of the lads in front also had to put in a shift because notwithstanding their present predicament some of the Carranachs have plenty experience at a reasonably exalted level. From a Glen point of view the game was notable not only for the inclusion of three youngsters-Finlay Robertson, Ryan Porter and Jamie Maclennan- but also for the return to Glen colours of Andrew Young.
Down in Inveraray the first team without John Barr managed to win 2-0 in a match which the Wing Centre had considered before-hand to be a difficult contest. The fact that the A82 was blocked by a boulder and the lads had to make a detour round by Inverness and the south shore only added to the pressure. It turned out all right in the end though as always there was a price to pay: Euan Lloyd tweaked a hamstring and had to come off. He also got himself booked as did Ewan Brady though neither fared as badly as Euan MacMurdo who picked up a straight red and a two game rest. You have to wonder what ref Billy Wotherspoon has against boys who are called Euan/Ewan.
Inveraray were without David MacPherson as he was due to run the Barcelona Marathon in aid of the Beatson Charity the following day. They were also missing John Kennedy and Garry Macpherson which tends to suggest that they were not liable to perform at the highest so the fact that John Barr had to serve a one match ban for a points accumulation carried forward from the end of last season was never quite as significant as it might have been. The Glen went ahead 4 minutes before the break when Lewis MacLennan fired a dipping 20 yard shot in from the right which was stopped by Inveraray keeper Graham MacPherson. However the ball got caught up underneath his feet and Fraser Heath ran in to knock the ball over the line from only a yard out.
Glen sealed the win 15 minutes from time when Heath got his second after some superb passing and movement involving the whole of the Glen forward line. Heath pushed the ball to James MacPherson on the left, around 25 yards from goal. MacPherson slipped the ball back to the forward-running Heath and he flicked the ball over his marker, who slipped, and this allowed the Scotland U21 international time to volley the ball into the net to make it 2-0.* (This description was pinched from the Skye website which is by far the most reliable source to pinch things from- and the Wing Centre of all people should know this)
All said and done, it was a fine result and it certainly made the four hour journey back up the A82 a little more bearable.
Saturday however sees both Glen sides face up to Kinlochshiel and with them both being somewhat shorthanded it will be a tricky afternoon for the red and blacks particularly up at Kirkton where there is for the first time in ages a full and fit squad.
“There you go,” said the Master Plumber, “getting all down about it. Our lot are as good as anybody.”
“If only they believed it”, said the Wing Centre.
The picture of Fadgy has been captured by Garry Mack, El Presidente ;the rest have been composed by Sheena Lloyd. Thanks to both.