ROBERTO ZAVARONI led the way with a five-goal haul as Bute hit a rich vein of scoring form on Saturday with a 12-0 rout of poor Oban Celtic at the Meadows.
Hector Whitelaw weighed in with a hat-trick, while David Whitelaw, Gordon McMillan, Robert Walker and Stuart Strathie also found the net as the island side continued their winning start to life in South Division One.
The game - the two sides’ first meeting for five years - began in a cautious fashion, but it wasn’t long before Bute were turning up the heat on their visitors, with early attempts from Walker and Strathie going wide of goal.
The first goal arrived in the 16th minute and followed a Zavaroni shy which found Walker on the wing - and he in turn squared the ball for Hector Whitelaw to hit a 20-yarder past Mackay in the Oban goal.
That sparked a ten-minute scoring spree for the home side, with Zavaroni adding the second after being set up by Strathie following a good clearance from Brian Liddle, and Whitelaw hitting his second and Bute’s third on 22 minutes after good interplay in the forward line.
David Whitelaw was the first of Bute’s rolling substitutes to be introduced to the action, and he scored goal number four with his very first touch, a crisp shot from 25 yards after coming on in place of Strathie.
Goal number five was the best of the first half, with McMillan firing an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net from 30 yards after being picked out by captain John McCallum on the left wing.
But for a good performance by Mackay in goal, Bute’s first half tally could have been much greater, but as things turned out the hosts lost their rhythm and shape towards the end of the first half and there would be no further scoring before the interval.
The Oban keeper made two more good saves to deny Walker at the start of the second half, but Bute recovered their goalscoring touch ten minutes after the restart when Zavaroni scored his second after picking the ball up in midfield and running 50 yards with it, evading numerous challenges on the way, before slipping it past the Oban keeper.
Hector Whitelaw, who had made way for Leighton Reid towards the end of the first half, returned to the fray just after the hour mark in place of James Craig - and took only a couple of minutes to complete his hat-trick, converting a penalty after an Oban defender stopped the ball with his foot off the ground.
Zavaroni completed his own hat-trick when he netted Bute’s eighth on 70 minutes, a close range finish after a scramble inside the D, before Walker added number nine with a fine strike from 25 yards.
Strathie, back on in place of McMillan, saw a ferocious shot rebound off the crossbar before Zavaroni took the hosts’ tally into double figures with the best goal of the game, sending a screamer past the Oban keeper and into the net after a short corner from David Whitelaw.
Walker was denied his second from the penalty spot after handball by an Oban defender, Mackay blocking the shot with his outstretched caman, but Bute still weren’t finished scoring and Zavaroni completed his own five-goal haul when he reacted quickest to knock home the rebound after another good save by Mackay.
The final goal of a productive afternoon for Bute was scored five minutes from time, when Strathie got his just reward for a good shift with a 25-yard shot past the beleaguered Mackay, rounding off an excellent day at the office for the islanders - and one which should give them confidence for the trip this Saturday to face Premier League Inveraray in the first round of the Glasgow Celtic Society Cup.
Throw-up on Saturday at Winterton Park is at 2.30pm.
* Meanwhile, Bute’s second team were also on winning form last Saturday, when veteran Ali Carmichael scoring twice in a 5-1 win away to Aberdour seconds in South Division Two.
Neil McKirdy opened the scoring against the run of play after a strong start by the home side, playing in their first season of league shinty, and Carmichael added a second after good battling in midfield by Calum Hatton.
Hatton and Ruairidh Soane both caused the Aberdour midfield problems throughout on a bumpy surface which made it hard for both teams to get their hitting going.
Stewart Stirling grabbed Bute’s third after more dogged work from the visitors’ forward line, and Carmichael gained just reward for his endless running and dangerous dribbles when he added his second on 76 minutes.
Stirling and Carmichael made way for Arran Dunn and Jason Reid for the closing stages to freshen up the Bute forward line, and though Aberdouer pulled one back through Craig Grant on 82 minutes, the visitors would have the last word when Dunn’s shot was saved and McKirdy tapped home the rebound for his second and the island team’s fifth.
“This game has shown again that this Bute team can achieve things by working together on a Saturday and training together on a Monday and Thursday,” said coach David Kilpatrick, adding that he was “over the moon” with the application and willingness to be on the ball shown so far this season.
This Saturday, March 26, Bute’s second team are at home to Inveraray seconds in South Division Two, with a 2.30pm throw-up at the Meadows.