THE 1996 Glenmorangie Camanachd Cup final lived up to all expectations and more, as Kingussie and Oban Camanachd battled out a five-goal thriller for the second successive year.

As in 1995, the final had more than its fair share of drama and heartbreak.

It was a fairytale final, too, for Gordon MacIntyre, Oban's electrical engineer who lost an eye in a match in September. He was to finish off a script no-one could have written, driving home the winner in 77 minutes.

Up until that point, Oban had often looked to be dead and buried, particularly when they were two goals in arrears. Ronald Ross had cracked his seventy-first goal of the season in just eight minutes and then Ali Borthwick made it two in 32 minutes.

Oban were at this point on the rack but a crucial intervention by Dougie MacIntyre changed the whole course of the game. He hit a glorious opener for the underdogs in 37 minutes and then, five minutes later, created the opening which finally brought Oban level and set the final alight.

Kingussie started the second half as if they meant business and if Ali Borthwick had converted at least one of three openings, he might have secured the trophy for Kingussie. Chances were wasted at both ends with both goalkeepers, John MacGregor and Ian Anderson, in superlative form.

It was fitting therefore that the winner would come from MacIntyre, whose comeback was complete, and he celebrated in joyous style. He crashed home the winner with 23 minutes left and then Oban defended stoutly.

MacIntyre's brother Dougie performed heroics covering every inch of the field and captain Nonnie MacInnes along with the other full back Alex MacVicar stood firm in the face of the onslaught.

Referee Ron Millican's final whistle was the signal for unprecedented celebrations as the Oban supporters went wild. For Gordon MacIntyre the emotional scenes were almost too much. In tears, he said as he left the field: ``That is quite unbelievable. I have never felt like this in my life. I'm doing a Gazza, for goodness sake.

``If anyone had told me last September that I would win the Camanachd Cup for Oban after 58 years, then I would not have believed them. I am so proud of all the boys, this is just a magical experience.''

A police escort took the triumphant Oban bus back into the town at midnight on Saturday where they were met at the bottom of George Street by the Oban and District Pipe Band.

Manager Colin MacDonald, who had indicated he would retire after this final, said: ``I am definitely going. There is no other way to go after winning such a match.

``I cannot speak more highly of all the team, but in particular the experienced players - the MacIntyres, Dave McCuish, Nonnie MacInnes and Alex MacVicar - were just tremendous.

The bad news for Kingussie is that they have to meet Camanachd again on Saturday.

The good news is that if they beat them, they will be the first winners of the Marine Harvest National premier league title.

There was some small consolation for Kingussie on Saturday when Rory Fraser was named man of the match for a second time in a Camanachd Cup final.

For David Anderson, their captain, there was bitter disappointment. It was his second time as captain on the wrong end of the result.