Kingussie captain James Falconer could be forgiven for feeling a sense of déjà vu ahead of Saturday’s Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup final against Oban Camanachd at the Bught Park, Inverness.
Just 12 months ago, Falconer fought his way back from a nasty knee injury, suffered just weeks earlier in the semi-final win over Oban Camanachd at An Aird, to come off the bench in the Camanachd Cup final and score the crucial second goal in the 3-1 win over Lovat at the Dell.
It was a cameo role which made him the star of the subsequent BBC documentary ‘Giving it Stick’.
This time around, an ankle injury suffered in training has left him fighting for fitness once more ahead of the biggest weekend of the shinty season.
Falconer said: “I went over my ankle in training and although the x-ray showed no break, I sat on the bench for the Kyles Athletic game last Saturday and hated it.
“I’ll receive physio this week which will hopefully help if it all goes well. In my head, I’m looking to be involved but we’ll have to wait and see.”
Oban Camanachd were 2-1 winners in the recent Artemis Macaulay Cup final between the sides, but Falconer feels the 2-1 league win over Kyles on Saturday, with Savio Genini scoring twice in stoppage time, showed a different character to their game.
He said: “Defeat against Kyles would have been a disaster. It wouldn’t only have cost us league points, but we would also have gone into the final on a downer.
“In the Macaulay final, I thought we ran out of ideas a bit when we fell behind and lost our way a bit and that let us down.
“Last Saturday was different though as we kept going until the very end and we showed great fitness and determination to win the game.
“We need to do the same against Oban and show that same fitness and determination throughout the final.”
‘We can’t just turn up and expect to win’: Kingussie captain ahead of Camanachd Cup final
Falconer believes Thomas Borthwick’s return from injury last Saturday is a timely boost, saying: “The thing with ‘Tuck’ is his great pace and ability and he would be an asset to any forward line.
“Zander Michie is also fit again, and I felt we really missed him when he went off injured in the Macaulay final.
“The Macaulay defeat showed that we are not just invincible, and we can’t just turn up and expect to win.
“We need to do better from the start and not let things get on top of us. It also gives us motivation.”
“Their Mossfield pitch is like the Dell, always in great condition, and hopefully the Bught will be the same come Saturday as that will suit both teams.”
Throw up is at 2pm and Des McNulty is the match referee. A large crowd is assured but anyone unable to be there on the day can follow the action live on BBC Alba.