Cruden confident as Lovat follow the old routine in the countdown
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