Friday, May 11, 2018

We need to talk about Kevin.

Yep - we certainly do. Indeed Glenners have actually been talking about him all week.
It was Kevin himself who made himself the talking point last weekend in the Macaulay Cup match against Glen. 
It was a game however that Cabers might have won long before the pressure came on Kevin- and the good thing was that in that pressure situation Kevin showed his human side. What’s not to like about him?

Now let’s face it Kevin is a super striker- he was Scotland’s top scorer in October’s international against the Irish last year. He’s been a big player for Scotland ever since he broke into the Scotland squad a few years back. Indeed you might even claim that he actually won the International all on his own last time out.

He certainly won the Camanachd Cup for Lovat back in 2015 in the Oban final against Kyles. Some folk over the hill think that goalie Stuart Macdonald won it but no- everyone this side of the hill knows that Kevin was the player who scored the two goals that actually brought victory to Balgate. So to him must go all the credit for the victory. Well maybe not all. Stuart did his bit to make sure his side did not allow all Kevin’s efforts to go to waste.

And he’s had his hassle with Glen goalies over the years, especially Gaz.

But then Kevin’s gone back to Cabers from Lovat (no criticism for that rational choice) and - hey presto - after years of sort of trying to get out of the bit the ‘Peffer boys suddenly go up into the Premier League.
Shinty’s been short of big names this last year or two- ever since superstars like  Ronald Ross and Gary Innes have moved away from front line participation and these amazing Inveraray players have become too old –it looks like the weight of celebrity was beginning to rest solely on Kevin’s slender shoulders. Had there been more time he might have been worthy of a poem: after all “Kevin “ and “Heaven” is a pretty much perfect two-syllable rhyme.
 Indeed that’s where we were going until that happened.
What happened? The penalty shootout - that’s what. Now Glen have been involved in and lost some penalty shootouts before - most notably to Newtonmore a fortnight ago and Fort William last year. Indeed we have won some that mattered too - in 2008 against Kilmallie in an amazing 10-9 affair which took us safely through to the MacTavish Cup final.
Never has the Wing Centre seen one like this though - and it’s not like the game was leading us up to expect it. Both sides had clear chances to win within the regulation timeframe. Glenurquhart took a first half lead somewhat against the run of play after James Macpherson fired home from a narrow angle following a Mike Fraser free hit which confused the Caberfeidh defence. Mike then doubled the Glen lead with a fine finish early in the second period before the visitors hit back to even things up with quick goals from Colin Maclennan and Kevin himself. It was a well taken goal giving no hint of the drama which was yet to come.
With the scores tied Cabers were on the front foot and they began to exert severe pressure on the Glen defence which eventually paid off in 75 minutes when Craig Morrison tucked the ball home from close range to make it 3-2 in favour of the Rosachs . Cabers continued to push forward in search of further goals and in so doing left the door open at the back for Glen’s Conor Golabeck to nick the goal in 86 minutes that took the tie into extra time.
Once again Morrison gave Caberfeidh the lead with a nice finish in the first half of extra time only to find that advantage once again wiped out when youngster Oliver Black cleverly set up James Macpherson for the final Glenurquhart equaliser of the afternoon.
Then came the penalties.  Poor Kev failed to convert four separate consecutive attempts in the shootout when retakes were ordered because goal judge Willie Cameron thought Glen keeper Smack Mackintosh had moved before the ball was struck. Everyone in Drum knows that there is no way Smacko could have moved because that’s not what he does. That is in essence why he is a goalie. Watch him at training as the Glenners have since he was 15 years old. He just does goalie stuff. That does not include moving.
However with each retake, Smack’s saves only went and got better. The first strike admittedly went past the post damaging Graham MacGregor’s advertising sign which seems only fair.  Then there was the Smack’s body save - guess it hit him - then the foot save and finally the stick above the head. The saves got better and better and after his fourth penalty miss Kevin snapped- then he snapped his club over his knee in the craze.

Now ten years ago, when John Sloggie was making the sticks, Kev would not have dared to try and snap it. John did not spend hours shaping and shaving sticks just to let guys smash them on a whim. He’d have been on that field and had Kev by the ear and told him a thing or two.  Equally certainly Kev would never have managed to break an old Macpherson hickory one-piece.

Still it was only a £55 Tanera from Frosty’s brother’s workshop so that’s O.K. then. Probably not- because Mr MacMaster does not look very happy.
The other Cabers guys also wilted under pressure and in the end Glenurquhart won 3-0 in the shootout with strikes by James Macpherson, Fraser Heath and Conor Golabek.
Of course, we kept the stick. It is not every day the Glen get their hands on a stick that has scored two goals in a Camanachd Cup final. In fact, if memory serves there are no previous days when that has happened. (Check out the pics if you don’t believe it’s the same club)

We are going to frame it - and it will have pride of place in the Clubhouse and every Saturday before a big game we will pop in on the back of the Polaris and parade it round the field for good luck. You just see if we don’t.
As for Kevin - we’re still talking about him.

Thanks to Neil Paterson for the historic pics of Kevin - and to Sheena Lloyd for the action one with Garry and the snaps from the recent game. Special thanks to Jim Barr for capturing the stick and the photos of it. Wow-that was some day!

Scottish Blogs