He has been a fixture in their side for 17 years but when the 2024 shinty season gets under way, Kyles Athletic will have to do without club stalwart Robbie Macleod who has decided to retire from the sport.
Having only played for the Kyles second team for around six months, Macleod broke into a talented but youthful senior side.
They reached the Camanachd Cup final in 2009 but were edged out 4-3 by Fort William.
However, Macaulay Cup and Glasgow Celtic Society Cup successes followed in 2011 before the Tighnabruaich men beat Inveraray 6-5 in an incredible final at Mossfield to win the 2012 Camanachd Cup, something the 34-year-old regards as the highlight of his career.
“The Camanachd Cup win was so special,” he said.
“It meant so much to folk and the whole village came out to welcome the team home. People still mention it to this day.
“We expected it to happen more often to be honest and it’s just a pity we couldn’t have done it a few more times.”
Kyles followed up their Glasgow Celtic Society Cup win in 2011 by keeping the trophy between 2023 and 2017.
Their final success in 2021 came courtesy of a penalty shoot-out victory over Oban Camanachd during which Robbie calmly slotted home his spot-hit.
The Premiership title eluded Kyles although it did take an injury time Danny Macrae goal to give Newtonmore the trophy at Dunoon when a Kyles victory would have left them needing just a point from their final game against Kingussie to be champions.
Robbie assumed a management role ahead of the 2023 shinty season as part of a five-man coaching team which also included Roddy Macdonald, Callum Millar, Andrew King and John Whyte.
Robbie said: “It look a bit of getting used to at first and making changes during a game could be difficult.
“That said, we are of a similar age and a similar mindset, so we soon settled into a pattern.”
After a slow start to this year’s league campaign, Kyles soon clicked and went on an excellent run to finish runners-up.
Robbie said: “We were missing a few players at important times at the start of the season but once we started fielding the same team on a regular basis, we went on a good winning run in the league.
“Our cup form was poor though, losing 10 goals to Glasgow Mid Argyll over two cup ties.”
Roddy on Robbie
Roddy Macdonald has been by Robbie Macleod’s side throughout his shinty career and he knows what a miss he will be.
He said: “Robbie will be a big loss. He’s been a massive player for the club, and he’s probably been one of the top wingers in the game over his time, not an easy man to replace at all.”
Macleod said: “I’ve told the boys that I wouldn’t leave them stuck if they were struggling for players for a game or two but no more than that although I’ll still join 5-a-side training to keep fit.
“I live in Paisley, and we have two young children, and even a home game means I leave home at 11am and don’t return until 7pm so the time is right but I’ve enjoyed it all.
“There’s been a lot of travelling but the away trips can be fun. Peter Kennedy puts in a power of work, driving the mini-bus to all our games this season. It’s a huge commitment.
“There’s a stop at Loch Lomond, where the Glasgow boys take a car. I think it was our Caberfeidh trip and Peter’s patience may have been tested when we all stripped off and jumped into Loch Lomond for a swim.
“It was freezing but it was a good laugh and gave us plenty to talk about for weeks to come.”