ALL four matches taking place in the Marine Harvest Premiership on Saturday look certain to have a bearing on the race for the title – and the battle against relegation.
At the top, second-placed Kyles Athletic have old adversaries Newtonmore as visitors to Tighnabruaich, with the home team missing influential striker Roddy MacDonald through suspension.
Kyles have their eyes fixed on the championship chase and have this totally in their own hands in the three matches they have remaining. However, they face two major obstacles to lift their first Premiership, not only will they will have to defeat More, they face leaders Kinlochshiel at Kirkton seven days later.
To complete their programme, Kyles meet relegation-bound Glasgow Mid Argyll on October 7.
Kyles and Newtonmore have met twice already this season in the league, with More coming out on top on both July occasions, following up a 4-1 Camanachd Cup third round win at The Eilean with a 3-1 victory in the league at the same venue a week later.
Kyles, of course, also triumphed 7-4 against More in the Artemis Macaulay Cup last month.
As it stands, Glasgow Mid Argyll appear favourites to be one of the two teams to drop down a division with the other being either Kilmallie, Lochaber or Glenurquhart.
Kinlochshiel, also on course for their first Premiership title, take on Glenurquhart at Kirkton where the visitors will be playing the last game of their campaign and could really do with taking something to ease their relegation worries.
Glen’s goal difference is nine better than Lochaber, whose last game is against Newtonmore at Spean Bridge on October 7, the week after More’s Camanachd Cup final appearance.
With More’s competitive season likely to be over at that stage and nothing more than pride at stake, such an issue could play a major part in determining the outcome of this match.
Glen are the only team to beat Shiel in the league this season with their 2-0 win over Johnston Gill’s team in June at Drumnadrochit being the last time Glen picked up a victory.
With Iain MacLeod being hopeful of fielding a full team on Saturday, including internationalists John Barr who returns from suspension and Fraser Heath who made a comeback to the team last Saturday, Glen will be hopeful that they can pull off a shock result against a Shiel side focused on title glory.
Glasgow Mid Argyll need to take at least three points from their final three matches to have a chance of avoiding a quick return to the Marine Harvest National Division and they face a tall order when Camanachd Cup finalists Lovat come calling.
Lovat are likely to travel with a full and committed squad intent on making their cases for places in the starting line-up for the forthcoming final and on achieving a third place finish.
After defeating Kyles last week, it will be a surprise if points are lost to a GMA side which has battled bravely since their promotion to the top-flight.
Kilmallie boss Mark MacPherson will be eagerly awaiting Saturday’s clash with Oban Camanachd at Canal Park where a victory would take his side level on points with Lochaber, and possibly Glenurquhart.
However, to do that, a significantly better performance than the one three weeks ago against Oban will be required. On that day at Mossfield Park, Oban ran out 4-1 winners.
In the Marine Harvest National Division, champions Skye will be aiming to keep their unbeaten record intact when Inveraray visit.
In Marine Harvest North Division One, Newtonmore will be confirmed as champions should they beat rivals Aberdeen University at The Eilean.
An Aird hosts the Aberdein Considine Sutherland Cup final where North Division One side Kingussie and South Division One title favourites Lochside Rovers compete to become the reserve champions of Scotland.
Kings are targeting a 10th triumph, with it being five years since they lifted this honour with a 2-0 win over Glenurquhart.
For Lochside, you have to go back 20 years for their last triumph with their 2-1 victory over Glengarry being their seventh success at this level.