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Kingussie finally get hands on Premiership trophy

By Gavin Musgrove

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Kingussie have been crowned Premier Division title champions for the first time since 2009.
Kingussie have been crowned Premier Division title champions for the first time since 2009.

IT will be music to the ears of every Kingussie shinty fan.

Boss John Gibson has confirmed he is keen to continue the work that has seen the Red and Blue half of Badenoch celebrate its first Premier Division title win for a decade.

He was commenting after the Kings ended their season with a 1-0 defeat on a strange day at far away Tighnabruaich.

They went down 1-0 to an early Colin MacDonald goal to keep up Kyles Athletic's impressive end of season form and posted fair warning of their threat for next season.

But for now Kingussie is savouring that winning feeling.

Gibson joked that the coach journey home had passed quicker than usual.

"A few drinks were consumed and a few songs were sung. It was all good fun," he said.

"It is a long journey home but it does not feel that bad with a trophy on board."

The coach did not arrive home until just before midnight leaving most of the other celebrating to be done at the club's annual golf club outing next day.

Gibson said: "All of the players were there for their round of golf and some celebratory drinks afterwards.

"We were joined by the Badenoch Ladies' team following their league win earlier in the day and they got a well deserved round of applause when they arrived.

"They joined in – so it was a double celebration."

On his own future Gibson said: "I am happy to continue in the role if they club want me to."

Along with other office-bearers, the managerial post will be up for grabs at next month's AGM at the Duke of Gordon Hotel.

Kingussie's Calum Grant gets the better of Roddy Macdonald (Kyles) in the end of season game.
Kingussie's Calum Grant gets the better of Roddy Macdonald (Kyles) in the end of season game.

But with the Macaulay Cup and now the league in the bag, it will surely be a procession for Gibson.

He believes there were several key points of the season which swung the title the way of a side many claimed were still a year or two short of experience of the achievement.

But he pinpointed the 2-2 with Lovat at Kiltarlity within a few weeks of the season's start.

Gibson said: "We were 2-0 down after 20 minutes and really under pressure in the first half.

"So to come back in the second half and get the two goals – and we could have won it – showed the strength of character in the team and helped to instal a belief.

"There were several big moments throughout the season but this was the first one and set the tone for what was to follow."

As for Saturday's defeat, Gibson said: "It was a strange day – a really odd game on a tricky pitch and to be fair the game was one we knew we did not have to win which is a weird feeling.

"The pitch was not great – it was very wet and boggy and we could not get going.

It was not a game of many chances – the one nil scoreline says it all really and it was a fortuitous goal but we have no complaints.

"We have to learn from this experience for next season. It is not always going to be a lovely dry pitch to playing flowing shinty on."

The only goal of the game arrived after just five minutes when MacDonald deflected a Robbie MacLeod high ball past Kings' keeper Rory MacGregor.

The victory means Kyles stay in third spot, a point ahead of Oban Camanachd who, like Kyles, have two games remaining.

This was only Kingussie's second defeat of the season – the other being to Lovat – and no team can match their seven victories on the road this season.

After the final whistle, captain Robert Mabon received the Premiership Trophy from sponsors MOWI signalling the end of the long wait to be shinty's top dogs once more.

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