Bute Shinty Club’s first team got their 2016 campaign off to an impressive start with a goalless draw away to Inveraray on Saturday - although as the islanders trooped off the pitch at the end of the game, they may just have felt they should have been coming home with maximum points.
Only a few months ago, as the 2015 season drew to a close, two divisions separated the sides - but you’d have struggled to pick out the team which was playing Premier League shinty up until October, and which had just won the South Division One title, after a 90 minutes in which newly-promoted Bute created most of the clear-cut chances and Inveraray, playing their first league match outside the sport’s top flight since 2001, managed only one shot on target.
The result, and Bute’s performance, were all the more notable in the light of the absence of a few first team regulars - most notably goalkeeper and captain Kevin Queen, whose unavailability led to team manager Ted McDonald dusting off his boots and retrieving his caman from the museum to stand in between the sticks.
Saturday’s display gives the islanders plenty to build on in the coming weeks, starting at home to Glasgow Mid Argyll this Saturday, March 12.
* Full match report in this week’s issue of The Buteman - on sale from Thursday, March 10.