Iain D. Cameron

 (1942 – 2023)

The shinty community in Glasgow and much further afield were saddened to hear of the recent passing of Iain Cameron of Ballachulish, Glasgow Mid Argyll and the Glasgow Celtic Society.

Iain was born and brought up in Ballachulish and developed his shinty skills at an early age playing for the local primary school team. When he moved to Glasgow in the late 1950s, he teamed up with his brother Duncan in the Glasgow Mid Argyll team which achieved considerable success in the 1960s and early 1970s. During that period Iain won five Glasgow Celtic Society Cup winners medals and was recognised as a very skilful and intelligent player.

Unfortunately, his playing career was curtailed by a serious eye injury, but his passion for shinty was undiminished and he quickly became involved in the administrative side of the game. He played a significant role in the management of Glasgow Mid Argyll over some forty years and held several posts including President, and latterly second team manager.

Iain’s enthusiasm, and his desire to see improvements in the game inevitably led to his wider involvement in shinty, notably within the Camanachd Association. In the early seventies he held the post of Chairman of the Coaching Committee. He recognised the importance of structured and organised coaching in the development of young players and produced numerous articles on that subject. He was the author of an article which appeared in the 1974-75 Shinty Yearbook, entitled “Coaching – An Investment in the Future” which makes really interesting reading fifty years on. The footnote to the article gives a brief background to Iain’s shinty career, and finishes with the following words, “In many respects Iain acts as the ‘think tank’ from which many of the ambitious ideas and developments of the Camanachd Association spring. Not only does he come up with good ideas, but he has the ability and drive to get them applied in an attempt to improve the traditional game.”

However, his contribution to the Camanachd Association was probably surpassed by his commitment over many years to the Glasgow Celtic Society, which he served as secretary for over thirty years, and was possibly the main mover in many of the initiatives developed by the Society during that period. He was instrumental in the creation of the Glasgow Shinty Development Council in 1998 which sought to gather all junior shinty activity in the area under an umbrella group making most effective use of the coaching resources available at that time.

Iain’s term as secretary saw the Society celebrate the 100th Celtic Cup final in 2004, and the 150th anniversary of its founding two years later, which was recognised by a civic reception in Glasgow City Chambers. Iain’s organisational skills and enthusiasm ensured both events were memorable.

Further initiatives included the experimental rule changes, the main success being the introduction of rolling substitutes, now adopted by the governing body as an integral part of our game. Iain also pioneered the Feis Spors event on the day of the Celtic Cup Final, and this has now developed into a stand-alone annual event.

In addition to all these activities, Iain enjoyed a long and successful career with British Rail, taking on the role of Commissioning Engineer for the Advanced Passenger Train being developed in the 1980s. He also found time to serve on The Sports Council for Glasgow, being Vice Chair when he stepped down. A further and much appreciated role was as an advocate for Deaf Sports, and through this and other similar organisations, he mentored deaf people, supporting their careers and using his connections to raise their profile in Scotland.

The Glasgow Celtic Society, Glasgow Mid Argyll and shinty in general, are certainly indebted to Iain for the huge contribution he made, over such a long period, and it was fitting that the last memory of him for many of us is in celebrating Glasgow Mid Argyll’s victory over Kyles Athletic, the main rivals of his playing days, in last year’s Celtic Cup Final.

The funeral service will take place at Clydebank Crematorium on Wednesday 15th March at 3.30pm.