GLENURQUHART go into tomorrow's MacAulay Cup first round tie against local rivals Lovat boosted by the return of international midfield powerhouse Eddie Tembo.
The Zambian-born player was a key figure in the Glen's championship-winning team last season, but has yet to make an appearance in this year's campaign.
Tembo has spent most of the winter in Madagascar working towards achieving a scuba diving qualification, but has now returned and pledged to commit to the Glen for the rest of the season.
His return is perfectly timed as far as the Glen is concerned and it gives co-managers Dave Menzies and Billy MacLean a chance to add his experience and power to the midfield in the absence of regulars Aran MacDonald and Paul MacKintosh, who have both been unavailable with long-term injury problems.
The Glen's managerial duo hope to add last season's top striker Andy Corrigan to the squad which lost in extra-time to Kinlochsheil in last weekend's Camanachd Cup tie.
Lovat have been something of an enigma so far this season with a mixed record in the league where the stats read won one, lost one and drawn two, but they have yet to taste defeat in any cup competition.
They are through to the last eight in the Camanachd Cup, are still in the Balliemore Cup, and at the end of the month will face Kingussie in the semi-final of the MacTavish Cup.
The Glenurquhart versus Lovat clash is the only North area pairing in the MacAulay Cup a competition that features the top 16 teams in the North and South areas.
Three Camanachd Cup ties held over from last Saturday go ahead with the pick of the matches being the Kyles Athletic versus Fort William tie at Tighnabruaich. Holders Fort William begin the defence of the trophy at home to Kilmallie, while Lochaber face Oban Camanachd at Mossfield.
In a rearranged Premier Division match, Kingussie face Inveraray at the Winterton where a victory for the former will hoist them into second place, only one point behind Fort William.
Meanwhile, two of the sides at the foot of North Division One table Inverness and Caberfeidh face each other at Bught Park. With relegation now confirmed for the bottom team in this league, a victory for either side could have a crucial bearing on which of these famous old clubs will face the drop.
In North Division Two, Glenurquhart's unbeaten record will be at risk when they take on Newtonmore at the Eilan, while Lovat try to get back on track at home to Fort William after successive defeats.
* Inverness and Lovat have paid their last respects to two club stalwarts who passed away recently.
On Monday, the funeral service of Roddy Gordon, a central figure in the highly successful Inverness team of the '40s and '50s, took place at Ness Bank Church. Gordon, who passed away aged 83, was a key member of the Inverness Camanachd Cup-winning team in 1952.
In Kiltarlity on Wednesday, the funeral of John Munro, who had a long association with Lovat, was held after he died at the age of 70.
Having been a player, second team coach, secretary and long serving committee member at Lovat, Munro was also well-known for his contributions to both Glasgow Inverness and Glasgow Mid Argyll.