KINLOCHSHIEL became only the second team in history to take the Marine Harvest Premiership title away from Badenoch when they defeated Oban Camanachd 3-0 in their final match to put themselves beyond the reach of second-placed Kyles Athletic.

It was a nervy display by the men from Wester Ross who went into the match knowing they needed only a draw following their 4-0 thrashing of Kyles a fortnight earlier, but also that their rivals could overhaul them on goal difference if they slipped up at Oban’s Mossfield Park, scene of the club’s previous greatest triumph when they won the Macaulay Cup last year.

Struggling to impose themselves on their hosts they had to rely on a defence that has conceded fewer than a goal per game in the course of the season to ensure they remained on course at the interval, but a goal from Jordan Fraser, set up by MacRae brothers Finlay and John, eased the concerns of their travelling supporters two minutes into the second half.

Fraser’s second midway through the half gave them one hand on the trophy and they could relax fully when Keith MacRae, the third of the influential brothers, squeezed a shot past Oban goal-keeper Gavin Stobbart 14 minutes from the end.

Johnston Gill, the team’s manager who returned to that role at the start of this year, was a proud man after watching his men matched the Fort William side of 2006 in denying the Newtonmore/Kingussie hegemony that has seen the Badenoch rivals claim the title in every other season since the Premiership was introduced in 1996 and said they had deserved their success.

“Over the season we only lost one league game, so it was the consistency that saw us through,” he said.

“We always knew they were good enough. They didn’t have the same belief as the other top teams which was partly down to not having been in this situation before, but it was up to them to get themselves into that situation and that’s what they did very, very well. We didn’t have to rely on other teams taking points off one another so we could win this, it was always in our hands.”

However he admitted they had needed a less than gentle reminder of what was required in the course of yesterday’s match.

“If we’d carried on playing the way we did in the first half we wouldn’t have won here today, but there were a few choice words spoken at half time,” said Gill.

“We told them to go back to the shinty that we’re good at, passing the ball quickly, moving it wide and then getting it into the centre from wide. That’s what we did against Kyles last week and all throughout the season, whereas in the first half we were going straight down the middle.

“We came out and produced that for the first goal, which was a beautiful move and that’s the way we want to play shinty and we definitely did that in the second half and that made all the difference.”