As competitive shinty returns tomorrow after a 14-month absence, Oban Camanachd defender Gary Lord has changed his mind and decided to play on but Caberfeidh midfield ace Ally Maclennan has revealed he is taking a break this year.
With Glasgow downgraded to Level 2 at midnight, Mid Argyll are able to host Oban in the new regional league set-up and have signed their former player and under-21 international attacker Oliver MacRae, who severed his Kinlochshiel connection.
It will be a bleak curtain up, however, for Fort William, Lochaber and Kilmallie, with the Covid-19 outbreak in their area postponing their fixtures against Kinlochshiel, Glen Urquhart and Skye respectively, meaning a wipeout for League A.
Oban manager Stephen Sloss said: “Gary Lord hadn’t been training and indicated he might take this year out, but he’s now committed to playing and that’s a massive boost for us.
“After the retirals of Lorne Dickie and Andrew MacCuish, it’s a relief that someone of Gary’s quality will help our young side.”
Mid Argyll boss Mark Bain said: “Oliver MacRae has rejoined us, which is excellent, although he misses the opener with a shoulder injury. Ex-Newtonmore hitman Ewen Fraser has signed for us, but won’t face Oban because of medical duty.
“We’ve also signed ex-Skye player Hugh Grant.
“It’s great to start the season in the nick of time – we’ve not been allowed friendlies, but we’ve trained hard.”
Therefore, following a poignant suggestion from Kyles Athletic, we will be instructing our officials to start each match 1 minute later so as all clubs can come together in a minutes silence as a mark of respect for those who have sadly lost their lives throughout the pandemic.
— Shinty (@camanachd) June 3, 2021
Ally Maclennan, who pulled out of the 2019 Scotland senior international training squad, will be missing as Caberfeidh face Strathglass at Cannich.
Cabers manager Jodi Gorski said: “Ally has a work backlog and says he isn’t available this season, which is a major setback. I’m keeping my fingers crossed he might play later on.”
Blair Morrison is injured, but his brother Craig, who rattled in 35 goals in the 2019 season, will be a threat to Strathglass, who carry their own attack menace in Penri Jones, who hit a hat-trick last weekend.
David Maclean, who was in Newtonmore’s 2019 Camanachd Cup winning squad, faces his old team for home town side Beauly at Braeview Park. The visitors have Steven Macdonald and Craig Ritchie back from injury, but Conor Jones is still out.
McWilliam misses out for champions Kingussie
Premiership champions Kingussie are without Ryan MacWilliam through a new job this term and they welcome Lovat, skippered by Scotland goalkeeper and captain Stuart Macdonald, to The Dell.
Glasgow’s lockdown easing means international forward Roddy Macdonald is available to play for Kyles Athletic against Oban Celtic at Mossfield. Celts boss Dougie MacIntyre has lost Jamie Anderson, who has signed for Lochside Rovers.
Inveraray make the trip to face Aberdour with veteran Garry MacPherson, one of their fittest characters, opting to play on.
The Fifers head coach Lisa Norman MacColl founded the Silversands club 20 years ago as a junior outfit and they made their Premiership debut on March 7, 2020 – only for shinty to be suspended days later due to coronavirus.