An important Scottish sporting anniversary will be honoured in Musselburgh and Edinburgh this weekend. Against many, if not all of the odds, Tayforth Camanachd has survived for 40 years .

The shinty club's players past and present will turn out for a match in celebration of the four decades. The match takes place at Levenhall Links in Musselburgh and then in the evening celebrations will continue in licensed premises in the capital.

The guest speaker will be the estimable Hugh Dan MacLennan, the distinguished historian of the sport (he wrote a doctoral thesis on it) and commentator emeritus of this editorial parish.

While these events take place within a caman's throw of the Firth of Forth, it was on the banks of the Tay that it all began.

It was down to men from the Republic of Ireland such as Father Eugene O'Sullivan who became known as "the shinty priest" and sometimes even " the swearing priest".

He was a committed player. Indeed, he attracted some public attention in September 1980 when a story in this paper had the headline "Priest ordered off after fist-fight at shinty game."

Others of the Irish founders had worked in the Allied Irish Bank in the Fair City.

It was at a meeting in the City Mills Hotel in Perth in 1973 that they decided to found a shinty club partly to assuage their sense of loss at being removed from their beloved game of hurling.

It was, after all, it a sporting second cousin to shinty, possibly once removed, in the extended family of Gaelic sport.

So the ancient game was seen again, on Perth's North and South Inches.

The Irish connection was to be reinforced with an annual trip to Kilkenny, to compete for "Ye Fair Cities Cup" which was played using the compromise rules of the two games, as were and are the shinty/hurling internationals.

Tayforth was to draw players from beyond Perth; particularly from the exiled Highlanders living in Edinburgh, Livingston and across Lothian and Tayside. So Scotland's two great east coast rivers were embraced in the club's name.

Although Perth is not seen as a shinty stronghold today, it did host two of the very early Camanachd Cup Finals: the fourth when Ballachulish beat Kingussie, and fifth when Kingussie beat Furnace. They were staged in Perth 1899 and 1900 respectively. The former is the earliest final recorded in a surviving photograph.

Lord Lovat, one of the sport's great patrons and first president of the ruling body the Camanachd Association, used to stop the train at Perth to hold association meetings on his way to and from Parliament.

MacLennan believes the formation of Tayforth was historically important in fusing the traditions of shinty and hurling in one club. It also reinforced the modern expansion of the game from its Highland heartlands.

He himself was an undergraduate at Glasgow University, and playing for its shinty team, when Tayforth was formed.

He remembers heading to Perth. "The pitch had a right of way so people walked their dogs through the game and women made their way home with their shopping. It was hilarious when you think about it, but it was just part of going to Perth. But the highlight of the year was stovies in the Perth Polish club after the game.

"On one occasion the day was rounded off with a game of shinty on Perth Station platform late at night, till Tayside's finest moved us on."

But he said the side did make real progress in the game In 1980-81 it gained the South Division II championship (Fraser Cup) and having gained promotion, remained in Division I for 10 consecutive seasons. In 1986 there was a victory over the mighty Kyles Athletic in the last game of the season, enabling the club to remain in Division I.

The Mod Cup was won in 1980 and in 1986. There have been several visits to Kilkenny to win Ye Fair Cities' Cup. In 1988 the semi-final of the Camanachd Cup was reached and, in 1990, the Aviemore National Six-a-side competition was won.

The club was also a pioneer in publishing its own magazine and newsletter; running an annual 12-a-side one day tournament, the Frews Cup; and indoor tournaments at Bells Sports Centre.

MacLennan says these founding Irishmen did much for the game of shinty itself. "The club suffered a great loss in the death of Willie Dowds who held a special place in the history of shinty.

"He was involved in the founding of clubs in Perth, Dundee and Glenrothes and in 1977 led a group of Tayforth Camanachd to London to receive an Irish Post Community award from the Irish Ambassador."

Due to the poor state of the pitch in Perth during season 2011, many games were played at Levenhall Links. Tayforth made a more permanent move to Musselburgh for season 2012.

And that's where players from the four decades will throw up tomorrow afternoon, and possibly again in Edinburgh thereafter.