FAVOURITES Newtonmore have been drawn against Kyles Athletic in the semi-final of the SSE Scottish Hydro Camanachd Cup.

Inverary will face either Fort William or Lovat in the other semi-final once their quarter-final replay has been settled on Saturday at An Aird.

Helping to make the draw at Hampden Park was Kingussie legend Ronald Ross MBE, the only player in the game's history to score over 1,000 goals in his career.

The choice of venue for the draw for shinty's most prestigious tournament was to mark an exhibition running in the national stadium's museum from October which will showcase the competition's silverware among other items.

And given football's precedence as the forefront sport in the central belt, Ross admitted there was an outreach element involved.

"Shinty has a history in relation to football - a shared culture. Matches have been staged at elite venues across the UK, including Chelsea's Stamford Bridge, and Kyles' adopting of their light-blue kits was a result of the bond forged when Rangers players were so taken by a match involving the side that they donated their kits to the club."

With football the first choice for many youths in the country, Ross - dubbed the Ronaldo of the Glens on account of his goalscoring prowess - was keen to point out the attraction of shinty as an alternative.

"Many kids in Scotland dream of being a professional football player, but the reality is that many don't succeed. Shinty is a good fall-back," Ross said.

"On the other side, look at Michael Fraser: professional keeper for Ross County, and when he finished in football he came over to shinty and was in a second-tier team.

"In the Highlands, shinty has always been there but more and more in the Glasgow area, for instance, we see clubs like Glasgow Kelvin emerging."

The increased profile of the sport in the central belt has led to calls within the game for a development officer to preside full-time over developing grassroots where the country's population is most concentrated.

"There have been increased calls for a development officer to work full-time in the Glasgow area and that is something I am interested in putting myself forward for.

"When I came into the game I never imagined I'd score over 1,000 goals and be awarded an MBE, but it's important to get the message out to kids that there is a career to be had in the game."

Ross' club Kingussie are fierce rivals of cup favourites Newtonmore but, given that his mother is from the town, the forward was not going to put his weight behind their opponents.

"Newtonmore are favourites: my mum is from there so obviously I have to be careful not to say anything bad about them. In the nineties it was Kingussie who dominated the game, now it's Newtonmore. Hopefully, we'll be able to turn that around again."