Newtonmore will be without key defender Steven Macdonald for the Camanachd Cup final at the end of this month after failing in a bid to fit in an additional fixture to work off the automatic suspension he is facing after receiving a yellow card during Saturday’s draw with Kinlochshiel.

During a physical and at times ill-tempered clash, the full-back appeared to throw an elbow at Kinlochshiel forward Keth MacRae, knocking him to the turf in an incident that was brought to the referee’s attention by a goal judge. On first impression and without the benefit of a replay, Macdonald was perhaps fortunate not to see a red card, but he immediately began protesting his innocence while pointing out that any sanction was going to rule him out of the final.

Whether or not that was the case was unclear immediately after the match, PJ Mackintosh, Newtonmore’s manager, indicating that he was unsure whether Macdonald had accrued the points that would take him past the suspension threshold, but it has now been confirmed that he has and consequently faces the ban that encompasses the period that includes the sport’s showpiece occasion in Inverness on September 30.

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The Herald understands that Newtonmore, who were already without four key players last weekend, including captain and fellow defender Rory Kennedy, subsequently took soundings about the possibility of rearranging their meeting with Lochaber, that is currently scheduled for early October, in a bid to getting Macdonald clear to play.

The shinty calendar is more fluid than many other sports but whether or not Newtonmore’s Camanachd Cup final opponents Lovat would register any concerns about that being allowed to happen it would also have had the potential to raise some concern at the foot of the Marine Harvest Premiership table since the match with Newtonmore is Lochaber’s last scheduled fixture of the season and represents their final opportunity to pull clear of the relegation battle.

With two of the 10 teams to go down they are currently in eighth position, two points ahead of Kilmallie and three clear of Glasgow Mid-Argyll, both of whom have three points to play.