Point FC - Lewis and Harris Football preview
The fact that Point have not won the Lewis and Harris league title since 2004 means that taking the league championship across the Braighe will undoubtedly be their top priority this year.
And on paper they could and probably should be champions come September. Reds boss Angus ‘Stoodie’ Mackay has built a squad of hungry and talented young players who came within one match, and one save, of securing the top prize last season.
This time around ‘Stoodie’ has to go one better and continue his side’s evolution into a team built on a stout defence and hinged onto assured attacking football.
While Point earned some big wins on their road to the brink of league glory in 2016 they came up short both home and away against eventual champs Lochs. So finding a way to take the points against their big league rivals will be key.
Competition for places is a welcome facet of ‘Stoodie’s’ reign, it would seem, and given that he is more than happy to rotate and reward form, he should hopefully have little problem keeping the squad suitably motivated.
Joining a Garrabost dressing room already packed with star turns is Rob Jones – freshly home on Hebridean soil after a spell Down Under.
Stoodie commented: “Jones has come in and is a great signing and should help us creatively. He is a smashing player and one we are delighted to have. Gordy Mackenzie has also come in to compete for No.1 slot and Andrew Macmillan is also home full time and he is looking really good, so we have a lot of attacking options this year.
“We have been there or thereabouts the last two years and with another years experience they should be hoping to challenge again and with the squad we have we should win silverware and compete for everything.”
Like his West Side counterpart Mackay concedes the league opener could be crucial and set the tone for a potential league challenge for either side.
“It is a very short league and it comes down to a few key games between the top sides and it depends on how teams start,” he mused.
“The first run of games will be crucial and we will have to hit the ground running. To win the league I think teams can only afford one defeat – two is probably too many in this league.
“We are all really looking forward to it. We have a decent squad, plenty of bodies and a good age so we should be doing well.”
Point will be hoping they can start quickly out of the blocks for confidence-building form and the chance to sit top of the table early on.
Let everyone else try to play catch-up instead of shoveling the pressure on to yourself. Nerves affect us all in different ways but there can be little doubt that points in the bag are the best way of putting pressure on the others.
The spine of this side is strong, has been together for some time and can be fully trusted in the most testing of environments against the very best the Lewis and Harris League can throw at them.
Last season was a thrilling ride for the Rudhachs with a couple of fatal spills near the very end but 2017 should be the year they return to the peak of the mountain.
After a 13 year wait for league glory patience will hopefully be a virtue that is ultimately rewarded for Point fans.