Homecoming boost for Kinlochshiel

Kinlochshiel have been boosted ahead of the new shinty season following confirmation that attacker Oliver MacRae will rejoin the club from Glasgow Mid Argyll.

MacRae, who was a key part of the side which lifted the premier league title in 2017, is moving back to the area, and will join his younger brother Archie is a squad which will begin its pre-season preparations with a friendly in Inverness this weekend.

A third ‘Ach’ brother, former Scotland under-21 cap Duncan, is also back in training and poised for a return after several years away, said Shiel boss Willie ‘Dooncie’ MacRae this week.

MacRae will have a squad of 18 through in the Highland capital, but the good news on the signing front is tempered by the loss of last season’s top goalscorer John MacRae. The Scotland forward is set to have an operation in a bid to clear a troublesome back problem and will miss the early part of the campaign. Midfielder Duncan ‘WD’ MacRae will also miss the start of the season, due to a trip to Australia.

After the match with Inverness Shiel have an over-30s v under-30s match on 4th February, followed by a mixed sixes competition on the 11th of February. They head to take on Kingussie on the 18th, and close out the preparations with a meeting with Skye on the 25th.

Shiel’s second team, who will be managed again by Ross MacMillan, have a friendly with Strathglass organised for 18th February.

Senior team boss Willie MacRae added that he was looking forward to the cottages.com MacTavish Cup clash with Newtonmore, after this week’s draw paired the teams together for a first round clash at Rèaraig on 25th March.

He said: “It’s an interesting one – we’re happy to be at home and the boys are confident. But we hope we are not playing catch up early in the season. It will be important to get a run of games to start the league season before the cup action gets underway.

“The lads have been training hard and we’ll be looking to use all the squad in the friendly matches.

“It’s a boost to have Oliver back in the area and back in the squad. Duncan, who also played for GMA, is another good addition for us and strengthens our options. Everyone is keen to get back on the grass, and get a game again.”