FOR now, the rest of the sightseeing is going to have to wait. Malcolm Cameron has already ticked off a few places he had been keen to visit when he realised he was going to be able to fulfil a lifelong aspiration to live in the Scottish home of his forefathers.

As the head coach of the Glasgow Clan ice hockey team, however, the Nova Scotian has been a bit busy to get round the rest of it, a packed playing schedule not currently conducive to jaunts around the Highlands and islands.

“It’s been tough to do as much as I had wanted to do on a personal level,” he reveals. “I’ve been to Edinburgh and toured around there which was absolutely beautiful. On Christmas Eve I was in downtown Glasgow, taking pictures and seeing the sights.

“I’ve been to Stirling and we were in Ayr for a couple of weeks. But our schedule has been so heavy that it hasn’t lent itself to a whole lot of leisure time. That’s fine, I like to be busy.

“I’d like to get up to Loch Ness as that’s a famous place. And my family comes from Tiree so I definitely want to visit there, too, before I go home. I’d love to go and check out my roots but that’s going to be one for later, maybe before the play-offs.”

Cameron is a seasoned hockey veteran who has coached previously in Italy and Romania so was never likely to be fazed by what faced him when he first arrived in Scotland in October.

Even so, there was still plenty for the 52 year-old to have to deal with including putting a squad together effectively from scratch, a delayed start while the club, belatedly, secured its long-term future at Braehead Arena, and then subsequent Covid-related interruptions, including the season being placed on hold until fans could return.

That would challenge any head coach but the indefatigable Cameron believes his squad have come through all that turbulence in a strong place.

“We’ve had to overcome a lot of hurdles,” he adds. “The last couple of weeks when we came out of the Covid stuff was back to how we were playing in November.

“I hated our December. We had a little bit of success and started taking shortcuts. And when you do that you fall off track pretty quickly. We got completely away from what our team should be so I was glad to see us getting back to our November hockey again.

“We’re a team that needs to play a certain way with a certain identity and when we do we’re capable of beating anybody. It’s been a bit frantic overall but it’s been fun.”

Hockey fans are among the most devoted in sport and Cameron is only frustrated that he hasn’t been able to do more with the Clan faithful.

“We have a great fan base here that’s very vocal and very loyal. They travel to away games to cheer us on and that’s certainly appreciated by the players and me as the coach. I ran into a few of them on the ferry on the way to Belfast and at a few other arenas.

“Because of the Covid situation it’s really hard to mingle as normal so that’s made it harder as typically I like to get to know our supporters. I like to always watch the warm-up from where they all sit so I got to meet a few of them that way, too.

“I’m not too bothered [if ice hockey doesn’t get more attention] as I coached in Texas where [American] football is the dominant sport. We get between 3500 to 4000 really loyal fans and who’s to say if we didn’t have a larger facility we wouldn’t have more? The fact that we play to near capacity in every game and the fans are so passionate makes it feel like there’s 15000 in there every night.”

The goal remains to qualify for the Elite League end-of-season play-offs, with Clan in a strong position to do so.

“Our goal number one is to get into the play-offs and, if we can achieve that, then our next goal is to get the best possible spot that we can and get ourselves ready. It’s not just to get in, but to win.”