HUGH Dan MacLennan, BBC Alba’s voice of Gaelic sport, was my principal guide, but critical co-commentary was frequently provided throughout by a former Glasgow Mid Argyll player who had brought colour to proceedings in the middle of a Yoker housing estate before he uttered a word. Very much a modern successor to the highland dandies of lore, resplendent as he was in flat cap, trendy duffle coat and tan brogues, Aulay Macaulay’s analysis was extremely helpful, if laced with the odd unbroadcastable adjective, but best summed up by his second-half observation that: “The game should be played with grace and finesse … and just occasionally a mighty blooter.”

Even to the untrained eye, it was evident that the playing surface was better suited to the latter.

It is a shameful admission that my visit to Peterson Park to watch Glasgow Mid Argyll take on the mighty Kingussie on their return to the Marine Harvest Premiership as it got under way on Saturday, was a first live experience of a sport that is as uniquely Scottish as whisky, as shortbread, as cranachan, as clootie dumpling, as Irn-Bru – and just as ruinous to dentistry.

Not just for players either, on this evidence, since it is all very well feeling you are getting up close and personal with the combatants, but with attempts to get a view of proceedings frequently inducing encroachment on to the pitch, the proximity and pace at which that little white bullet of a ball passed us at regular intervals added an extra dynamic to the thrill of spectating.

That apart, it was excellent entertainment, the physiques of the respective players generally reaffirming the notion that the men from the highland village are very much giants of this sport, while those from the big city are its minnows and for the most part Kingussie’s superior power dictated the shape of the game.

Not that GMA were without their chances to apply a different sort of pressure and Craig Dawson, in the visitors’ goal, had to be sharp on a couple of occasions, particularly in the period just after the opener was registered by Ruaridh Anderson, whose father, David, was part of the Kingussie team that dominated the sport for 20 years from the mid-1980s, while his grandfather, Andy, was among those who were on the receiving end on GMA’s greatest day in 1973 when they won the Camanachd Cup in Fort William. A second goal, from captain Ryan Borthwick followed just before half-time and the game was wrapped up just short of the hour mark by Eric Hollysong.

After many years in which it was a given that all 12 players representing Kingussie would be past Camanachd Cup winners, it is telling that this team contained just three, according to the redoubtable Hugh Dan – namely Dawson, James Hutchison and Lee Bain. Their change in fortunes has been such that they came close to the indignity of relegation from the top flight for the first time ever in 2015. They have turned to a man who has been a familiar face to far more than shinty fans, to revive their fortunes.

Their newly-appointed manager, Dallas Young, a member of the great Kingussie sides, said: “We all know that if you’re part of Kingussie Shinty Club, there’s a standard that comes with it as a player and if we set these standards we’ll not be far off. We know the people who have gone before us, we just have to keep on matching that and we’ll get ourselves back to where we want to be.”

Young was first to admit that it will be a case of ‘do as I say’ rather than what he did in terms of his approach at times during the course of the career but he is well known, and not just because he featured alongside Trainspotting star Robert Carlyle in the TV programme Hamish Macbeth. Young is also known by his flowing locks held back by a head band bearing the legend “Wild Thing”, the nickname that recognised both his recklessly brave playing style – he missed a string of Camanachd Cup wins as a result of breaking his legs three times – and his off-field reputation.

He willingly acknowledges he may not be the best man for the job in terms of coaching credentials, but with his son Roddy now in his former slot at full-forward, he and former team-mate Barry Dallas are ready to give all they have to help the club return to former glories.

“There are a couple of people who might be better placed to be in this job, but there are reasons they’re not involved,” Young said. “However, Barry and I are here and we’ll give 110 per cent. We’ll back the players to the hilt and hopefully at the end of the year we’ll have done a job that will be acceptable to everyone in Kingussie.”

For GMA’s part there was consolation to be had denying Kingussie a clean sheet, when Calum MacLay lashed the ball unstoppably past Dawson, but most particularly from their overall competitiveness.

“I can see a lot to work on there, they never gave up and we could have had a goal in the first half when we had the pressure,” said the home team’s coach George Hay, who had admitted beforehand that finishing eighth, one spot above relegation, is the season’s main objective.

“I’m quite optimistic. They’ll learn and they need to up the tempo. But when we last played these guys here they beat us 14 nil so the gap’s narrowing for us and we really need to up our game now.”