Certainly, his team-mates could be forgiven for allowing their minds to wander away from the game to thoughts of to how they could add to the lore of victory celebrations that have tended towards the epic after Camanachd Cups past.

And if complacency played a part, they almost paid a heavy price for it. Suddenly, the fresh-faced tyros of Kyles found the touch in front of goal – 50 yards on one spectacular occasion – that they had lacked up to that point, staging a remarkable fightback that saw them draw level with three rapturously-received goals in the space of seven improbable minutes.

It was an astonishing turnaround, sporting drama of the highest order possible. As the indomitable lads from the south grew with confidence, the first goal flew in off the stick of Fraser MacDonald in the 76th minute, Duncan Kerr added his wonder strike in the 80th minute, then rattled in the third a little later. The wind that had blown in from the west all through the game was now behind them in every sense, and Fort William looked seriously rattled.

But not for nothing have the boys from the Fort been Scotland’s – and, indeed, the world’s – pre-eminent team for the past few years. Last time out they stole the thunder of the mighty Kingussie, and they weren’t about to let the whippersnappers of Kyles Athletic derail their plans for a third successive Camanachd title. And besides, Jim Clark had only scored one goal up to that point.

Shinty is a game of man-to-man marking, but Kyles should have put a squadron of players on Clark’s case after he had rattled in his first goal in the 46th minute with his first serious touch of the ball. Clark had bagged a brace in each of the past two finals, so there was an air of unfinished business about him so long as he had just one against his name. And so the inevitable came to pass, for with barely four minutes left on the clock, Clark got on the end of an Innes cross from the right and muscled the ball into the net.

It was a masterclass of sorts. All the pre-match predictions had suggested that Kyles young team would run rings round the old stagers of Fort William, but the burly Clark is built along lines that suggest that running rings around him might be a job for a middle-distance specialist. 
Kyles had struggled badly enough against the energy of Innes, the craft of Victor Smith and the deft artistry of John MacDonald, but Clark added another dimension, if we can put it that way, to their woes.

Remarkably, Clark was not awarded the Albert Smith medal, the Camanachd Cup’s man of the match award, for his two-goal contribution. Instead, that honour went to Donald Irvine, the young medical student whose uncle, Andy Irvine, was the Albert Smith medallist in Kyles’ 1994 victory and who succumbed to cancer earlier this year.

There was more than sentimentality in the award, however, for young Donald, the Kyles full-back, had performed heroically in his efforts to keep the Fort William strike force at bay.

Of all the traditions that surround the Camanachd Cup final, the least worthy of honouring is the one that demands that central belt correspondents should adopt a smug and patronising tone when covering the annual event. You know the sort of thing: sneering comments about borderline psychopaths, hairy-arsed highlanders, whisky-fuelled teuchters and all the other lazy cliches that ignore the skill and commitment that these players put into their game. To be in Oban yesterday was to witness one of the finest occasions on the Scottish sporting calendar.

And while Billy Connolly raised a guffaw or two with his recent suggestion that shinty could replace football as Scotland’s national game, it began to look like a seriously good idea, as the swarthy sons of Lochaber and the Kyles of Bute offered up more skill, finesse, muscular endeavour and, yes, real passion for the jerseys they wore that George Burley’s pampered prima donnas have produced in years. All this for nothing more than home town pride and bonds of brotherhood with team-mates that were forged in primary school and strengthened through match after match down the years.

So Fort William headed back up the road north, sage in the knowledge their town would hail them as the local heroes they are. And tomorrow they go back to their day jobs – Clark to his joinery business, Innes to the life of a musical troubador he enjoys as one of Scotland’s most celebrated accordionists, MacDonald to his duties as an electrical technician. And Kyles went south – deeply disappointed but secure in knowing that they performed heroically. Their young team will be back.

Not to put too fine a point on it, the first flush of youth is a far distant memory for many of the Fort William players. How long can the team go on? “So long as there is breath in our lungs,” beamed the 37-year-old Clark. And he, for sure, has no capacity issues there.