Cruden con­fi­dent as Lo­vat follow the old rou­tine in the countdown

Shinty:

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - SPORT - BY BILL McALLISTER

New­ton­more aim to end their hoodoo at Moss­field Park, Oban, to­day when they face Lo­vat in the Ca­manachd Cup fi­nal.

It is 39 years since the Bade­noch men lifted the game’s most pres­ti­gious tro­phy at the Ar­gyll venue.

Since then Kin­gussie (four times), Oban Ca­manachd, In­ver­aray, Fort Wil­liam, Kyles Ath­letic and Lo­vat have all won Ca­manachd fi­nals at Oban since New­ton­more beat Kyles 4-3 in the 1979 show­piece.

The Blue and Whites have not fea­tured in the fi­nal at Oban since los­ing 5-1 to Kin­gussie in 1989, the last time two North sides con­tested the big game.

Full-for­ward Glen Mack­in­tosh, 39, said: “It’s not a happy venue for us but records are made to be bro­ken. I’ve set my sights on my fifth Ca­manachd win­ner’s medal.

“The last time we won the cup at Oban, in 1979, we com­pleted a third suc­ces­sive fi­nal tri­umph and we can cer­tainly do that again this time.”

Callum Cruden, 27, a linch­pin in the Scot­land de­fence, was op­ti­mistic as the Lo­vat team bus left for Oban last night. He said: “We’re keep­ing as close to the same rou­tine as we did when we beat Kyles 2-1 at Moss­field in the 2015 fi­nal.

“That was the first time the club had won the tro­phy since 1953 and the cel­e­bra­tions were su­perb.

“We were slow out of our blocks in last year’s fi­nal in In­ver­ness and were two down be­fore we got go­ing, then lost 3-2. There’s very lit­tle be­tween the teams.

“Hav­ing Danny Kelly back af­ter his bro­ken thumb is re­as­sur­ing for our de­fence and it would be won­der­ful of we could take the cup back to Kil­tar­l­ity.”

Lo­vat will have a set­tled line-up for this 111th Ca­manachd fi­nal. Man­ager Fraser Gal­lacher said: “Craig Main­land has re­cov­ered af­ter a cou­ple of days suf­fer­ing from a virus.”

New­ton­more man­ager Paul John Mack­in­tosh has to de­cide who re­places Fraser Mack­in­tosh, who broke his col­lar­bone last week­end. He said: “I’ve got good op­tions as David Ma­clean, An­drew Macdonald or Neil Ste­wart can all slot into our mid­field.”

With the two strong­est rear­guards in the game, much will de­pend on Lorne MacKay and Michael Rus­sell in the re­spec­tive mid­fields. Lo­vat hit­man Greg Mathe­son has hit 29 goals so far and is out to avenge his blank in last year’s fi- nal while pow­er­ful fin­isher Marc MacLach­lan starts his first fi­nal.

Beauly and Fort Wil­liam un­der-14 sides con­test the MacTav­ish Ju­ve­nile Cup fi­nal with an 11am start.

CAMAN TO­GETHER: Callum Cruden, left, and More’s Glen Mack­in­tosh will re­new ri­valry at Oban to­day

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