ABERDOUR Shinty Club coach Lisa McColl has targeted a top two finish for her side as they prepare for their league opener this weekend.

The Silver Sands based outfit’s first team are due to travel to Strachur in the first weekend of South Division One action aiming to better last season’s fourth place finish in the table.

They warmed up for that encounter with a 5-1 defeat in a friendly with Kyles Athletic – who operate two divisions above ’Dour in the Premiership – but McColl told Press Sport that she feels her squad is capable of challenging for promotion to the second tier of shinty.

“Glenorchy have pulled out of the National Division and will play in our league, and when another team from a division above drops down it can knock your targets a little bit,” she said. “But we still have to aim for the top two and at least it means that we have to rise to the challenge of playing higher quality opposition.

“Pre-season has gone well and we have a huge bank of second team players. They tend to be younger and you need a substantial pool as they have things like exams, but it’s about developing them to be ready for the first team. That pool is smaller and it’s a shame that two of our key players, Ruariadh Reid and Brian Toal, who has just started stepping up from the seconds to the first team, are going to be out for a bit with injury.

“We played brilliantly against Kyles, who played 80 per cent of their first team and the others were juniors who had won the Scottish Cup last year. In the first 15-20 minutes we lost three goals but we adjusted to things after that and only lost one other goal before half-time.

“In the second half it was really even and Angus Thorburn set up Jack Kelly to score. We dominated until late on when they scored in the dying moments, but we played some nice shinty against a side who were more composed, were slick and skillful. We took more out of that game than if we’d played a team that we could beat and we’ve got to be able to do that from now on.” Looking towards Strachur, which is due to have a 2.30pm throw-up, she added, “They are a decent team but we should be able to step up and match them. It’s a game we are looking to get two points from.” Aberdour’s seconds are also in action on Saturday against Glasgow Mid-Argyll at Silver Sands. Throw-up there is also at 2.30pm.