Playing to Win
Kyles Athletic, from Tighnabruaich in Argyll, is one of the most famous club names in shinty. Formed in 1896 (the same year as the first Camanachd Final), the club was known as Kyles Athletic Football and Shinty Club, originally playing football and shinty on alternate Saturdays.
The First President of the Kyles club was Neil Nicolson. Many of the Kyles players around the run of the 19th and 20th centuries were employed in Cartes and Harvey’s powder factory at Millhouse.
Kyles collected their first silverware in September 1900 when they won the handsome "Buteman Challenge Cup" at Rothesay. In the same year, the club changed their playing strip from red and white horizontal stripes to their now familiar colours of Royal Blue which were apparently donated by Rangers FC.
In 1901, Kyles won the oldest trophy in shinty, the Glasgow Celtic Society Cup, for the first time. In 1904, the ultimate goal was achieved when the team triumphed over Laggan by four hails to one in the Camanachd Cup Final. After a hat-trick of wins Kyles were unsuccessful in the Camanachd Cup until 1920 when they beat Kingussie 2-1 in Glasgow after a draw in Inverness.
2012 saw Kyles bring the trophy back to Tighnabruaich in one of the great finals of the modern era when they defeated Inveraray at Oban to make it 21 wins and 20 losses in shinty’s greatest game.
Kyles published their own history in 1996, edited by Iain Thorburn, to mark their centenary.
Hugh Dan MacLennan.