Skye have swooped to make two new signings as the islanders prepare for their Mowi Premiership return.
Kenny Cushnie, who can play up front or midfield has been snapped up from North First Division side Lochcarron – and he is joined by Sam Stubbs, also a midfielder, who played for Lovat in last September’s Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup final.
The double capture is an ideal tonic for National Division champions Skye, who conceded only five goals in 14 league games last season.
Manager Kenny Macleod said: “These two big, powerful lads are excellent additions and means we’ll have a first team squad of 20 players, which we haven’t had for a long time.
“Kenny Cushnie is a real athlete who can score goals and the move gives him the chance to sample the Premiership for the first time.
“Sam Stubbs, a 19-year-old personal trainer, has West Coast connections and is happy to commute from Inverness to play for us, which is encouraging and shows commitment.”
Cushnie has been playing alongside his father, long-serving stalwart Gregor Cushnie, in the Lochcarron attack. In 2019 Gregor won the manager’s player of the year award while Kenny won the players’ version.
Macleod said: “We start pre-season training on Tuesday because I felt the players needed a full month off after their efforts last season.
“But we’ve had a couple of very positive team meetings and the new recruits will freshen things up.”
Ex-Kyles Athletic player Neil MacVicar, who had steel plates inserted after sustaining a broken jaw early last season, is determined to lend his experience to Skye’s top flight comeback.
“It was a horrific injury but Neil is working hard to return,” said Macleod.
“He has to find a helmet and face guard which he is comfortable with and he has a bit of work still to do.
“He’d only played three or four games last year before the injury, so Neil’s likely to start the new season with the second team to give him match fitness and confidence.
“Neil’s is one of a couple of incidents which have strengthened my belief that helmet-wearing should be fully compulsory on safety grounds. In Ireland, the GAA introduced it overnight, signalling if players want to play they must abide by the rule.”
Goalkeeper Ryan Morrison, who missed last season because of a trip to Australia, is still working Down Under.
But Macleod said:”Murphy Henderson really proved himself when he came in and had a great season between the sticks, so there’s no worries there.”