Published: 21/09/2017 11:30 - Updated: 19/09/2017 12:53

Kinlochshiel ready for crack at title rivals Kyles Athletic

KIRKTON is certainly the place to be on Saturday when Kinlochshiel face Kyles Athletic in a Marine Harvest Premiership title showdown.

Both teams sit level on points at the top, with Kyles ahead by virtue of holding a five goal better goal difference than Shiel.

After this weekend, each team has just one more match to play, with Shiel facing a tricky fixture at Mossfield Park against Oban Camanachd on October 7, while Kyles have home advantage over basement team Glasgow Mid Argyll on the same day.

With this in mind, a win on Saturday is a virtual must for Shiel if they are to achieve their dream of a first Premiership triumph.

With the surface at Kirkton prone to postponements, Shiel have voluntarily given up home advantage on two occasions this season to get the fixture played, however this will not be the case on Saturday given the significance of the game.

A welcome omission from the Kyles line-up as far as Shiel are concerned will be prolific marksman Roddy MacDonald, who is serving a two-match suspension for an ordering off against Lovat on September 9.

With the exception of Glenurquhart, who took three points off Shiel, Kyles are the only team not to lose to Johnston Gill’s men this season.

This is sure to be a thriller as was their last meeting, a 2-2 draw at Tighnabruaich in late July when Shiel surrendered a two-goal advantage in the last eight minutes, with Sandy MacKenzie equalising for the Argyll side in the final minute.

Lovat play Kingussie at Balgate in the Kiltarlity side’s final game before their Camanachd Cup final clash with Newtonmore.

Lovat have won their last four league games and go in to this match with one eye on a potential third-placed finish with the other obviously being the imminent final.

Lovat boss Fraser Gallacher will think carefully regarding his team selection and may make full use of the rolling substitutes ruling with players such as Greg Matheson and Craig Mainland recovering from injuries but needing game time.

With players close to suspension thresholds, caution may have to be exercised regarding other squad members.

Kilmallie will hope to take advantage of Newtonmore’s injury and suspension situation when the Camanachd Cup finalists are the visitors.

Glasgow Mid Argyll travel to Mossfield Park to take on Oban Camanachd knowing defeat will confirm their relegation fate.

Four wins from their last five league fixtures sees Oban in a comfortable mid-table position, but with four games still to play after this one, they have the opportunity to climb quite a few places so GMA will find the points they desperately need difficult to come by.

In the Marine Harvest National Division, the second promotion spot is still undecided.

Caberfeidh and Fort William are the two contenders to join Skye in next year’s Premiership and both are in action on Saturday. Cabers conclude their season with a derby against Beauly at Castle Leod.

A win for Cabers would maintain their second place spot and keep them at least three points ahead of Fort.

After being well on course to challenge for the title, Cabers have lost three of their last five league matches and now need to finish with a win to give them a chance of finishing second. Craig Morrison’s first half hat trick helped Cabers to a 3-0 win in their previous meeting at Braeview Park and this is an outcome Beauly manager Alan MacRae will be keen to see his young team overturn.

With a league win proving elusive for Inverness, the city side have one final chance to rectify that when they travel to An Aird to face Fort William.

With promotion very much in Fort’s thinking and a 6-1 win at the Bught two weeks ago, the odds don’t look good for Inverness and a barren season for Drew McNeil’s men appears on the cards.

In the remaining fixture in this division, Inveraray meet Oban Celtic in the first of two league meetings between these two teams this season. Whilst Aray are tipped to take the points, it should be remembered that Celtic posted a 5-4 extra-time early season victory over Aray in the MacAulay Cup.

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