Oban Camanachd retain the Glasgow Celtic Society Cup

Oban Camanachd beat Kyles Athletic 3-1 to win their 22nd Glasgow Celtic Society Cup Final.

Peterson Park, the home of Glasgow Mid Argyll, was the venue for the 2024 Glasgow Celtic Society Cup Final between holders Oban Camanachd and all-time record winners Kyles Athletic. The Tighnabruaich outfit had overcome a stubborn GMA side 3-1 after extra-time in the semi-finals, while the red and blacks had a more comfortable 4-0 win against Inveraray, Ross MacMillan scoring a hat-trick on that day.

Just 58 seconds after referee Willie MacDonald threw the ball into the air to start the game, the first shot on target came. Ross MacMillan picking the ball up on the right wing for the holders before driving a ball into Lewis Cameron who let it run through his body and drilled a shot at Jack Whyte, the keeper having to be alert in the opening minute to stop and put it behind to safety. Three minutes later and there was more work for the Kyles stopper, and it was a familiar combination for Camanachd. Daniel Cameron playing a great ball from his own half down the right-hand side, MacMillan picking the ball up in space and feeding Lewis Cameron, the forward skipping past his man and getting a half swing on target from close range. If that stop was good from Whyte, the follow up was even better, readjusting his body and getting enough on it to deflect the shot over the top.

Fourteen minutes in and Kyles would have their first half chance, Ross MacRae feeding the ball wide to Will Cowie from a free hit, his low strike across the keeper just whistled wide of the post though. Chances breed chances and just sixty seconds later it was a first on target for Kyles, this time from Conor Kennedy who did well to beat his man to a ball on the left before firing a shot that brought the best out of Cammy Sutherland in the Camanachd goal. Soon after, he would be called into action again, Kyles once more working a free hit into a shooting position, this time Sutherland proving equal to Roddy MacDonald’s drive from 25 yards, diving low to his left to knock it behind.

Sutherland was tested again in the 28th minute and again it was Kennedy, this time trapping the ball well, outmuscling his man and striking high – forcing the Oban keeper into another impressive stop.  Two minutes later though, the ball was in the back of the net. The Kyles net. Oban’s Daniel MacCuish picked up the ball from a broken-down attack just inside the final third and picked out Malcolm Clark with a great diagonal pass, the forward taking a touch to set himself before firing across the keeper into the far corner.

That joy was short lived however as Kyles Athletic struck back just 5 minutes later and again it was started with a free hit and possibly the simplest of the three. MacRae passed the ball square from the free hit on the right wing into the box for the onrushing Roddy MacDonald, his shot was well saved by Sutherland but Scott MacDonald was the first to the rebound and swept it home for 1-1.

On the brink of half-time there was another twist as Camanachd worked a shot through an increasingly familiar combination, MacMillan getting the better of his man on the right flank before picking out Clark, who was in enough space to readjust his body rather than taking a touch, the forward doubling his tally for the day and putting firing Oban ahead again.

Immediately from throw up, Oban broke again, and a long ball fell to MacMillan – the form forward this time playing a slip pass into the path of Lewis Cameron who took the ball under his spell, shifting it into the D before knocking it past a helpless Whyte in the Kyles goal. That goal came just 12 seconds after throw-up and gave the holders a huge confidence boost heading into the break.

In truth, everything the first half had, the second did not. Kyles pushed to get back into it with the wind at their back but the Camanchd backline, which had been depleted by injuries in the first half leaving only one regular first team starter, stood strong and rebutted their attacks, sometimes requiring Sutherland to do what the whole shinty world knows he is capable of – prevent goals.

There was no more scoring to be had in the second half and with that the game was brought to a close. For Kyles, there was a little solace in Andy King receiving the man of the match award, but their focus will return to ending the Mowi Premiership season well, just as they did in 2023. For Oban Camanachd, another Celtic Cup in the cabinet and still plenty to play for this season. The victory at Peterson Park was celebrated as Captain and brace scorer Malcolm Clark received the trophy from the Glasgow Celtic Society and lifted it high in the air to the acclaim of the travelling fans.

Images courtesy of Paul Paterson.