Glasgow Mid Argyll triumph in Celtic Society Cup final

Captain John Don MacKenzie proudly takes the trophy after the club's 42-year wait. Photograph: Aidan Woods Photography

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Glasgow Mid Argyll lifted the Scottish Sea Farms Glasgow Celtic Society Cup on Saturday June 25.

Glasgow Mid Argyll 1 Kyles Athletic 0

It was an historic day for Glasgow Mid Argyll (GMA) who won the 117th Scottish Sea Farms Glasgow Celtic Society Cup Final, their first success in shinty’s oldest trophy since 1980, beating Kyles Athletic 1-0 at a blustery Peterson Park, Yoker.

The wind across the field offered no obvious advantage to either side but the extensive work on the pitch itself over recent weeks left it in fantastic condition.

GMA boss Alan MacRae was missing Hamish Anderson and Calum McLay who were on holiday, while Garry Luke’s ACL injury ruled him out. Defender Ryan Harrison and forward Ally McKerracher both had hamstring injuries. The former started and was to play a key role but the latter missed out.

Kyles Athletic manager Robert Baxter masterminded last year’s success but he was missing key players Roddy MacDonald and Andrew King who were on a pre-booked holiday which had already been cancelled twice because of Covid. Rupert Williamson and George Thomson started in defence, with David Zavaroni in the forward line.
This 4.05pm throw-up was broadcast live on BBC ALBA.

Kyles started on the front foot and Jonathon Oates in the GMA goal made good early saves to deny Sorley Thomson following a free-hit, and Robbie MacLeod after a sweeping move forward.

The Glasgow side settled into the game though and took the lead after 19 minutes following a free-hit in the middle of the park given when Jamie McFadyen was hauled back by George Thomson.

John Sweeney sent the ball forward and Brian Slattery slipped a pass to John McNulty on the right and, with his back to goal, the former Glenorchy man turned and fired a glorious back-hand drive across the keeper with the head-height strike going inside John Whyte’s right post.

Kyles responded and Sorley Thomson made a great run across goal before seeing his low shot rebound off the base of the keeper’s left post while, at the other end, John Whyte saved low from John McNulty.

The first half finished with a flurry when Brian Slattery ran through on goal after charging down Callum Millar’s clearance but Millar recovered well to help win back possession.

Then Robbie MacLeod was lucky to get away with a booking for a late swipe at his opponent while David Zavaroni had to go off to get a hand injury treated with Liam Arnott coming on but it remained 1-0 until the break.

At half-time, the Glasgow Celtic Society once again honoured the winning team from 50 years ago when the surviving veterans from the 1972 Glasgow Mid Argyll side which beat Kyles Athletic 3-1 were introduced to the crowd.

Kyles Athletic pressed from the restart but the GMA defence of Ryan Harrison, John Don MacKenzie, Finlay MacMillan and Jonnie MacAskill restricted them to few opportunities with Liam Arnott firing wide just after the hour.

John Whyte saved from Ewen Fraser before clearing the ball under pressure following a rare Glasgow attack but most of the action remained at the other end.

There was a spate of bookings with GMA’s former Kinlochshiel trio of John Don MacKenzie, Jonnie MacAskill and Oliver MacRae all yellow carded within quick succession.

Kyles continued to attack and Jonathon Oates made the save of the match, palming away Conor Kennedy’s fierce back-hand strike from the right.

David Zavaroni was next into the book for having too much to say to the referee and Kyles rolled the dice for the final 10 minutes with Callum Millar going from full back to full forward.

It was a nervy wait for the GMA support but their side saw out the closing stages until Oban referee Alec MacVicar brought the final to a close and he was presented with the Jack Asher Memorial Whistle.

The Donald J MacNiven Memorial Medal for man of the match was awarded to GMA full back Ryan Harrison who was outstanding throughout.

Glasgow Mid Argyll celebrate their historic win. Photograph: Aidan Woods Photography

For GMA manager Alan MacRae, it was a notable success in this south showpiece event after twice winning the north equivalent, the MacTavish Cup, with Lovat.

All that was left was for Glasgow Mid Argyll captain John Don MacKenzie to raise the Scottish Sea Farms Glasgow Celtic Society Cup which now takes pride of place at the club after a 42-year wait.