Shinty: Inveraray forced to dig deep for 20th Celtic Cup win

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IN MODERN society we have a tendency to discredit things once they have lost their youthful flush, but in Saturday's Glasgow Celtic Society Cup final Inveraray proved that experience is irreplaceable.

Kyles Athletic travelled to a sun-kissed Old Anniesland for the 106th final with little to lose and, with a team of prodigious youngsters, most neutrals would have been willing on this 'new' winner to etch their name on the famous trophy.

The Tighnabruaich outfit almost gave them and the BBC Alba broadcasters the story they wanted, bolting from the traps and taking a firm grip on the game and fashioning an unexpected two-goal lead.

However, this Inveraray side have developed a knack of winning Shinty's oldest trophy and, by the time the television cameras were back in the trucks, few could have denied them their 20th win in the competition by an albeit narrow 3-2 margin.

Just as Kyles looked to have nullified their threats and were sitting comfortably thanks to bullet strikes from Colin MacColl and Thomas Whyte, Inveraray changed gear.

They might not have the engines of the Kyles nippers but years of playing together have given them an awareness of their own arsenal.

Manager John Smylie decided to withdraw Russell MacKinlay from the targetman role and allow him to use his stick skills from wide areas.

Garry Macpherson was pushed into the centre and that proved the master stroke.

Macpherson rattled a loose ball home after 36 minutes before converting a direct free hit to level things at half-time.

Two minutes after the interval, the twin threat of Macpherson and MacKinlay led to the latter being felled in the box and Macpherson completing his hat-trick from the spot.

It was a particularly significant triumph for the Macpherson clan. Garry and brother Graeme collected their 12th winners medals, which is a new record.

What they say is true: sometimes the wisdom of age can beat the zest of youth.

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