His preparations have been undermined by injury but Ewan MacDonald reckons he is fit enough to have a serious chance of completing a hat-trick of successive titles by leading his team to victory at the Scottish Curling Championships which begin this weekend.

Having had a pain-killing injection to address the knee problem that has been troubling him throughout the season and will require surgery in the medium to longer term, the 40-year-old from Inverness demonstrated his competitive instincts last weekend with a win at the Aberdeen City Open, a high quality mixed event.

That has set Team MacDonald, which now includes Dave Edwards who was the beaten skip in the 2014 Scottish Championship final as well as Ruaridh Greenwood and Euan Byers, up for the coming contest where they will once again be looking to upset the players involved in the British Curling programme.

Heavily involved in his family financial advisory business MacDonald knows that he and his men are hugely under-prepared by comparison with those funded opponents who have been playing in high class events across the world.

However the three time Winter Olympian is counting on their natural competitiveness to pull them through at the Dewar’s Centre in Perth over the coming week.

“The injury has obviously been a concern because I’ve been pretty much looking just to deliver the stone and get up as quickly as possible,” he explained.

“It’s not something that gives me too much bother other than when I’m fully flexed on the ice, but that is obviously crucial.

“I was taking pain-killers throughout last weekend’s event in Aberdeen, but it really boosted the confidence to come through that because we had two games to play on each of Saturday and Sunday ahead of quarters, semis and the final on Sunday.”

Reassured that he is physically capable of undertaking the challenge of the week long Scottish Championships, he believes his team can come through again.

“Obviously you want to go into it feeling you’ve thrown a lot of stones and are well prepared and in the previous two years I’ve really done that from the start of January onwards, whereas I’ve gone a lot easier this time around,” he explained.

“However there is a part of it that means you are hungry and keen to be playing. It’s not like we feel over-curled or a bit lethargic.”

For MacDonald, Greenwood and Byers there is the added incentive of aiming to make up for what they feel was under-performance when representing Scotland at the last two World Championships, particularly last year in Nova Scotia, while he is also keen to give Edwards a chance to sample that environment.

“We were really, really upset after what happened in Halifax and there would be nothing nicer than earning the chance to make up for that and we’d also love to do it for Dave because he’s been knocking on the door for a long time,” MacDonald observed.

“Obviously it is going to be pretty tough because Dave (Murdoch) and his boys have hit some form and I think all of them Dave, Kyle (Smith) and Tom (Brewster) are tough teams who are playing a lot all round Europe and around the world getting match toughened.

“Bruce Mouat has a really good young team, too and they proved that at last year’s championships where they got into the 1 v 2 game.

“There are a number of other good teams involved, too, which is what you expect when you get through to the last 10, but it’s really no different to where we were last year and you know that when you get there in that environment it will bring a lot out of you, so our target is just to find a way to get to the knockout stages and then see what we can do.”

Due to that recent upsurge in form that MacDonald alluded to Team Murdoch will go into the event as favourites but the men’s event is set to be a more open contest than the women’s in which it will be a major shock if Team Muirhead do not continue their dominance.

The Championships get underway on Sunday and while, following the recent success of BBC Alba’s live televised coverage of the Perth Masters, it was disappointingly in terms of encouraging wider interest, that organisers have announced that there is not even any live internet streaming planned, they are encouraging spectators to attend, particularly come finals day on February 21.