Scotland international Kevin Bartlett has told Camanachd Cup holders Lovat he will stay with them for the new season.
Bartlett had agonised for three months on whether to drop down to the National Division to play for former club Caberfeidh, where his cousins Craig and Blair Morrison play.
But the midfielder, who scored both Lovat goals in the Camanachd final, has now opted to stay with the Kiltarlity side.
“It’s the ideal new year present for us,” said Lovat manager John MacRitchie. “Kevin has made up his mind and it is in our favour. We did not push him and told him we’d abide by his decision and he’s taken his time on it.
“Kevin has received the blessing of relatives to stay another season with us and is relieved at having made his choice. He’s such an important player that it’s a big boost he’ll be in our colours when the new Premiership campaign starts in March.
“We hope to face Beauly in a friendly at the start of February and will play at Inverness on February 13 and at home to Skye on the February 27.”
More good news for Lovat is that Graeme Macmillan, who suffered a bad leg break 16 months ago, costing him an under-21 international cap after being selected, is ready to return.
Macmillan was an unused sub in their 3-2 Lovat Cup win over Beauly at the weekend and MacRitchie said: “We’ll give him a chance in the friendlies and probably start the season with Graeme in the second team to regain his match sharpness.
“The lad’s had a frustrating time but it’s great to have him back as he has such potential.”
Greg Matheson’s knee problem remains a worry for Lovat. MacRitchie said: “Greg has not been fully fit since last July and we need to get the injury assessed to see what can be done.”
Robbie Brindle gave Beauly an interval lead in the Lovat Cup but Bartlett and Greg Matheson netted before Dave Maclean made it 2-2 only for substitute Fraser Gallacher to score a spectacular 20 yard winner.