WAYNE Mackintosh is in his 14th season with Nairn County. It is easy to forget he is still to turn 30.
From a fresh-faced teenager stepping on to the scene in 2004, Mackintosh has gone on to become one of the club’s most dependable figures.
His tenure at Station Park has seen him feature alongside some quality players and it is testament to his impact that an array of talent will take to the field on Sunday for his testimonial.
He entrusted his former team-mate of seven years Brian Macleod with assembling the Wayne Mackintosh Select, who will do battle with the current Nairn County side.
“Wayne put together a list of players that he wanted to get involved and left it up to me to get them!” said Macleod, who played for Nairn between 2003 and 2011.
“It’s been difficult trying to get permission from all the clubs to get boys to play, with it being between games on the Saturday and Wednesday. There’s also been a bit of persuading some older guys to put the boots back on again.”
Scrolling through the lineups and it is impossible for your eye not to be drawn to the plethora of attacking options Macleod will have available to him.
Willie Barron, only recently retired, Steven Mackay, Craig Campbell, Robbie Duncanson and Conor Gethins, the club’s record goalscorer, will all turn out in the yellow shirt once again. Steve Sanderson and Iain Brooks, who have been away from the Wee County for a decade, round out the list.
There are plenty of familiar faces in the rest of the team too. John Campbell, Sean Webb, Adam Naismith, Alan Pollock and Dale Gillespie will also feature, with Mackintosh playing a half for each side.
“He’s played with some great players – Robbie, Sid Mackay and Conor Gethins are three of the best strikers in the league,” added Macleod, the current Clach assistant manager.
Alongside Macleod in the dugout will be Martin MacDonald, the club’s record appearance-holder, former Nairn assistant manager Ally Macleod and Andrew Skinner.
Mackintosh, along with the Main brothers Glenn and Gregg, have remained as the club’s core local element.
Ahead of this weekend’s Highland League fixture with Lossiemouth, the trio have combined to make 948 appearances, with the Main brothers sure to feature as part of Ronnie Sharp’s Nairn squad on Sunday.
Macleod watched Mackintosh develop from the shy 16-year-old that made his debut 13 years ago into one of the league’s most accomplished midfielders.
“You knew straight away he was going to be a top player. Some young lads can be a bit cocky but Wayne wasn’t like that. He was always level-headed,” he said.
“It’s great to see how he’s developed and he’s only got better as the years have gone on. He’s a great lad off the park too and always someone you want to see do well.”
Macleod hopes there is more to come from the Nairn skipper too, despite his contract being up at the end of the season.
Mackintosh told the Courier in January that work commitments – he is a self-employed joiner – would determine whether he would play on beyond the end of the season. Injuries force him to take time off work he can ill-afford.
However, one man hopes he can delay retirement for a bit longer.
“He’s struggled a bit with injuries recently but he’s still a massively important player. Hopefully he can shake them off and still be a big player for Nairn,” said Macleod.
“He’s a Nairn boy, so I’m sure the locals will turn out for him on Sunday.”
n Wayne Mackintosh’s testimonial kicks off at 1pm on Sunday. Tickets are available from The Westerlea, Bobs Bar and The Town Barbers.