Friendly fixture gives young stars the chance to shine

South Lochaber Thistle Development Squad and Kinlochleven FC with a mix of Rangers tops to celebrate the life of village resident 32 year old Kathleen MacLean who passed away recently. Photograph: Iain Ferguson,

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Kinlochleven FC 1-6 South Lochaber Thistle Development

Kinlochleven FC welcomed a South Lochaber Thistle Development side to the Kinloch Astro Dome for a midweek friendly, writes Peter Newman.

A sombre note was struck before kick off as both the teams – and a large number of the local community – came out for a minute’s applause to pay their respects to Kathleen MacLean.

A fighter all her life, Kathleen passed away in the week running up to the match and, in tribute, the home side wore Rangers strips in her memory as a mark of respect.

The friendly was specifically designed to make sure that a number of local players from the football community who aren’t getting regular football were able to get some game time.

After 19 minutes, SLT Development’s skipper Bradley Cameron opened the scoring. Marauding midfielder, Cameron Grant, drove forward before playing a cute pass inside, finding Cameron who found the bottom corner with a left footed strike from about 16 yards.

However, the home side were not to be down heartened. With 30 minutes on the clock, Paul McFatridge pulled an equalising goal back from distance after some great work out wide by their own captain, Mikey MacLean.

As the half wound down, a Cameron shot was saved by David Wilson in the home side goal. However, he could only parry and the ball fell to young Kian Cameron whose rasping drive flew straight into the top corner to edge SLT 2-1 ahead at the stoppage.

The management teams used half time to encourage the players, but it was the Development side who made the next break through to strengthen their advantage – Lewis Murphy getting the goal to move the Greater Glasgow Premier Division club 3-1 ahead.

The scoreline took on a new complexion at this point. Veteran utility man, Michael Rodgers was in the line up to add heft and experience and it was his chipped free kick over the defence which showed the nous of an old head. Cameron Grant played a dinked finish over the on-rushing Wilson’s head for a great finish.

It was at this juncture in the game that Kinlochleven came back into the game. First, they were awarded a penalty. Michael MacLean stepped up only for the ball to smash off the bar and soar river-wards.

Normal service resumed soon after with Blair Hamilton and Cameron adding to the SLT tally.

Special mention should go to young AJay Stoddard (13 years old), who came on for Kinloch with 20 minutes to go.

SLT Manager Alan Gray said: ‘To see youngsters coming through here on both sides, and to see a game played in such good spirit and to be invited to help pay our respects to Kathleen is very important to us, and we can only thank Matthew Prosser and everyone at Kinlochleven for all their hard work.’