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SHINTY: New Lovat captain is targeting success in 2024 season

By Will Clark

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Lovat's Graeme MacMillan with Struan Ross (Newtonmore). Lovat v Newtonmore in the Mowi Premiership game, played at Balgate, Kiltarlity.
Lovat's Graeme MacMillan with Struan Ross (Newtonmore). Lovat v Newtonmore in the Mowi Premiership game, played at Balgate, Kiltarlity.

GRAEME Macmillan says it is an honour to be appointed captain of Lovat as he looks to lead them to success in 2024.

The 30-year-old has been promoted from vice captain and given the armband for this season from Danny Kelly.

Macmillan has been playing with Lovat since he was a teenager and says that he is looking forward to the opportunity of leading the Kiltarlity outfit for the new campaign.

He said: “It is definitely an honour to be named as captain, I have played there my whole adult life.

“Traditionally, whoever is the vice captain at Lovat is promoted to captain the following season.

“I am in the same team as my pals, where there are a lot of Scottish internationals and older players.

“There is less pressure with the captaincy than if it was a young squad.”

Originally from Bunchrew, but now living in Inverness, Macmillan started his shinty career at Inverness Shinty Club where his dad worked as a coach. Macmillan left in 2011 to join Lovat and has been a regular feature in the club’s first team at Balgate for 13 years.

Looking at the current squad, Macmillan says the competition for places in the first team will be the toughest it has been in years.

He said: “Lovat are more determined this year and we have a much stronger squad.

“We have added with the likes of Joe Embleton, Angus Mearns and Sam Stubbs who were all fringe players before but will be looking to push some of the established stars out of the first team.

"The competition for places is the highest that it has been in a long time.”

Lovat had a disappointing 2023 campaign by their standards when they finished in sixth place and failed to make any of the major cup finals. Macmillan says that is something that the club are desperate to improve on as they go looking for silverware this year.

He said: “We weren’t happy last year at not making any major finals and did not challenge in the league at all.

“We want to be challenging for everything, but we need to give a better account of ourselves. Whether that is with winning one trophy, a sign of improvement is required.

“We have been handed tough draws in the Macaulay Cup and MacTavish Cup against Newtonmore and Kingussie.

“But I do not see that as a bad thing.

“We’re going to have to play them to win the trophies, it might be a blessing to get them early rather than later on in competitions.”

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