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Balls & Whistles
Highland News and Media
A Highland News and Media podcast looking at the latest sport news from across Inverness, Ross-shire, Caithness and Sutherland.
Mar 3, 2022
Episode 51 - Snowman Rally 2022
After a year off because of the pandemic, the Snowman Rally returns to Ross-shire this weekend! The first event of the Scottish Rally Championship takes place between Dingwall and Muir of Ord, and it's one of sports editor Will Clark's favourite events to cover, so of course he will be there. To preview the curtain raiser, Will spoke to defending champion Michael Binnie about his victory in 2020, his preparation for this year's race and whether being the top seed will add any pressure this time around. It's a really fascinating insight into what goes into car rallying, so make sure to check this one out and why not go along to Dingwall on Saturday lunchtime to see the cars' procession through the town? As always, you can get involved in the show! Find Will (HNM_WClark), Andrew (ahenderson96) or Balls & Whistles (Balls_Whistles) on Twitter, or simply email email@example.com. Thanks too are due to Forest Fires for our theme song, Scared of the Dark.
Feb 3, 2022
Episode 50 - Transfer Window reaction
The January transfer window is officially shut, so Will and Andrew look back over the business Ross County and Inverness Caledonian Thistle have done and analyze the arrivals, departures, whether anything could still happen from the free transfer market and where - if anywhere - still needs improvement. We also take a quick look at what's been happening elsewhere over the last month, as well as bringing you news of a new Highland News and Media podcast coming this month. Get in touch with the show either on Twitter (@Balls_Whistles) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can get in touch with the hosts on Twitter too (Andrew - @ahenderson96; Will - @HNM_WClark), while thanks as always are due to Forest Fires for our theme song Scared of the Dark.
Jan 13, 2022
Episode 49 - Mid-season Review
We're back! This is the first episode of Balls & Whistles in 2022, and with Will already making use of some of his annual leave it's left to Andrew to steer the ship - but he has brought in the reinforcements. With the Premiership's winter break ending next week and the Championship just getting into the second half of their league campaign, it seemed like a nice opportunity to get back in touch with Staggies supporter liaison officer Kenny MacLennan and the Wyness Shuffle podcast's Andrew Young to revisit their pre-season predictions on Balls & Whistles and see what they've made of things so far. First up then there's an update from Andrew about the future of Balls & Whistles, then we go into the Ross County section with Kenny discussing what improvements he has seen, what he wants in the January transfer window and whether the top six is still a realistic possibility. After that it's the Caley Thistle half of the show as Billy Dodds' playing style is analysed, some players are singled out for underperforming and we get predictions for how the top of the league will look by the summer. As always, you can get in touch with the show on Twitter (@Balls_Whistles) or by emailing email@example.com - and while you're listening to this, why not take advantage of a podcast-specific offer on a Digital+ subscription at Highland News and Media by heading along to www.hnmedia.co.uk/subscribe and using the promo code PODCAST. Thanks are also due, as always, to Forest Fires for our theme song Scared of the Dark.
Dec 30, 2021
Best of 2021 - Part Two
As the hours tick down in 2021, it is time to look back on the second half of the year at some of the sporting highlights we've featured on Balls & Whistles! In this one there was plenty of history made and titles won, not in the least by Invergordon's Tom Stoltman, who became the World's Strongest Man! Stoltman will now be looking to win it again, but he cannot hope to have the kind of longevity golfer Alistair Risk has had after he competed in his 50th consecutive Brora Five Day Open earlier this year. That was not the only highlight coming out of Brora though, as Steven Mackay stood down as manager of the football club after a shock 6-2 defeat to Fraserburgh. Ross County Cricket Club had a historic year, winning two trophies including the Senior Cup for the first time in 21 years, while Inverness Harriers Megan Keith and Kirsty Law continued to make their mark on the international athletes scene. There is not bigger stage in international sport than the Olympic Games, and Strathpeffer boasted a double Paralympic medalist thanks to cyclist Fin Graham's exploits in Tokyo, and it was also a huge year for Kinlochshiel Shinty Club who won their first ever Camanachd Cup - and then backed it up with the MacTavish Cup to complete the set of senior trophies. Inverness played host to the Scottish Squash Open in a landmark moment for the sport in the Highlands, meanwhile in rugby union, Jamie Dobie made his Scotland debut after impressing for Glasgow Warriors and being on the fringes of the squad for most of 2021, and Ross Sutherland launched a women's team for the first time. We then wrap up this episode with a look back at our Rainbow Laces special episode, hearing from LEAP Sport Scotland and Football v Homophobia's Sirri Topping about the campaign that ran earlier this month. Get in touch with the show (Balls_Whistles), Will (@HNM_WClark) or Andrew (ahenderson96) on Twitter, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks as always go to Forest Fires for our theme song, Scared of the Dark.
Dec 23, 2021
Best of 2021 - Part One
We're coming towards the end of 2021, so we thought it was worth taking a look back over some of Balls & Whistles' highlights of the year! This episode has clips from interviews and discussions up until the summer, when football dominated sports coverage as one of the few things running relatively normally. With the help of colleagues Jonny Clark, Craig Christie and Alasdair Fraser, we revisit chats about the fate of the 2020/21 Highland League season, a proposal to introduce Colts teams into League Two, VAR, Brora Rangers' historic Scottish Cup win over Hearts and the appointments of Malky Mackay and Billy Dodds at Ross County and Inverness Caledonian Thistle. You can also hear snippets of interviews with former Staggies boss Stuart Kettlewell, Caley Thistle interim manager Neil McCann and Daniel Mackay just hours after his move to Hibernian was confirmed. Let us know what you want to hear from Balls & Whistles in 2022 by getting in touch on Twitter (@Balls_Whistles) or by emailing email@example.com. Thanks, as always, go to Forest Fires for our theme song Scared of the Dark.
Dec 16, 2021
It's another episode of Balls & Whistles, and because of a very busy Thursday Andrew takes you through some of the interviews he has done this week. First off, he was at the Ross County match against Celtic on Wednesday night, so there is immediate post-match reaction from Harry Clarke and then manager Malky Mackay's response to rising Covid concerns as well as the pitch invasion by Celtic fans that sent a steward to hospital. Then we move on to rugby, where clubs have played their final matches of 2021. For Highland's first team, it was a disappointing result away at Heriots, but head coach Dave Carson tells us why he does not feel the National One title - and a spot in the Premiership - is out of reach just yet. Finally focus shifts to Highland Boxing Academy, who held their first club show since the pandemic began in March 2020. Narrowly taking a winning record out of the card, head coach Liam Foy tells us what it was like for club boxing to return after such a long absence. Get in touch with the show on Twitter (@Balls_Whistles) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and thanks as always go to Forest Fires for our theme song Scared of the Dark.
Dec 9, 2021
Episode 47 - Avenge Me!
Sports editor Will Clark is back alongside Andrew Henderson and that means there are discussions aplenty - about Inverness Caledonian Thistle's Scottish Cup exit, about whether Ross County can come up with a repeat of their 5-0 demolition away at Dundee on home turf and just how open the Highland League title race is. We hear from a furious Billy Dodds just after the final whistle at Cappielow, Ross County assistant manager Don Cowie and winger Regan Charles-Cook and Clachnacuddin manager Jordan MacDonald in this episode, which also covers the North Caledonian League Inverness derby - that will actually take place in Inverness - between Loch Ness and Inverness Athletic. That's not all, as we briefly look at a busy period for Highland Boxing Academy that included Ben Bartlett extended his professional record to 3-0 in his Highland homecoming, and the final rugby matches of 2021 at Highland, Ross Sutherland and Inverness Craig Dunain. Let us know what you make of the show, or get in touch with questions, on Twitter (@Balls_Whistles) or by emailing email@example.com, and thanks as always are due to Forest Fires for our theme song Scared of the Dark. Check out their latest single 'Deadweight' now!
Dec 2, 2021
Andrew is on his own again, so it's time to hear some of the interviews that are behind the content in this week's newspapers! We kick off this episode by hearing from Ross County striker Dominic Samuel in the aftermath of the Staggies' 0-0 draw against St Mirren on Wednesday night, also looking ahead to their trip to St Johnstone tomorrow where County could move out of the relegation zone. While Ross County are looking to move off the bottom of the table, Inverness Caledonian Thistle Women still have eyes on the top of the Championship North. They play their last home match of 2021 against Buchan this Sunday knowing that every point will be crucial as they try to hunt down leaders Montrose - who have only just shown their first signs of vulnerability. To rugby, where Highland are also in action at Canal Park for the last time this year. Their opponents are Kelso, who scored a 40-point victory over Dave Carson's men at the start of the season, but with a stronger squad with players back from injury they will be hoping for a very different outcome this time around. Ross Sutherland hope to finally return to action after an extended lay-off, and they will fancy their chances against Caledonia North Two leaders Moray after feeling they should have had greater rewards from their meeting in Invergordon earlier this season. That's not all, though, as we also hear from professional boxer Ben Bartlett ahead of his homecoming in Inverness tomorrow night, and there is a bonus Rainbow Laces interview with Inverness Craig Dunain RFC's women's team vice-captain Erin Green. Get in touch with the show on Twitter (@Balls_Whistles) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and thanks as always are due to Forest Fires for our theme song Scared of the Dark. Check out their latest single, Deadweight, now!
Nov 25, 2021
Episode 45 - Rainbow Laces
We promised you a special episode, and here it is! The Rainbow Laces campaign kicks off it's 2021 activation this week, so Andrew has taken the opportunity to shine a bit of a spotlight on the campaign and LGBTQIA+ inclusion in sport. First he talks to LEAP Sports Scotland and Football v Homophobia Scotland's Sirri Topping about why a campaign like Rainbow Laces matters, as well as answering some of the most common responses that the campaign, football clubs and governing bodies get on social media when they publish inclusive messages. There is quite a bit of focus on men's football in that chat, so Andrew also sat down with Ross County manager Malky Mackay to get a perspective from inside the game on what is happening to make it a more inclusive place, why the dressing room is the perfect place for anybody thinking about coming out and the effect that inclusive messages can have. Chances are, your local club is doing something to mark Rainbow Laces, so check them out too and get involved since this year's slogan is Lace Up and Speak Up. Get in touch with Balls & Whistles on Twitter (Balls_Whistles) or by emailing email@example.com, and thanks as always go to Forest Fires for our theme song Scared of the Dark. Check out their latest single 'Deadweight' now!
Nov 18, 2021
Inverness Caledonian Thistle suffered a shock defeat to bottom of the table Dunfermline last time out, so this week's Balls & Whistles is a chance for Will and Andrew to pick apart what's going wrong at the Caledonian Stadium. We hear David Carson's post-match interview after the defeat to the Pars and preview ICT's long trip to Dumfries to take on Queen of the South tomorrow night. It is another free weekend for Ross County, but we do take a quick look ahead to next Wednesday's return to Premiership action against Hibernian, before turning attentions to the Highland League and North Caley clubs, as well as Clachnacuddin and Caley Thistle's women's teams. Highland Rugby Club are another team who are back in league action this weekend as they also have a Friday night fixture away at Stirling Wolves, while there has been good news for the Highland Stags and Sophie Mapplebeck before a big rowing event returns to Inverness. Get in touch with the show on Twitter (@Balls_Whistles) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and thanks as always go to Forest Fires for our theme song Scared of the Dark - check out their latest single Deadweight now!
Nov 11, 2021
It's the international break, but while that means Ross County are set for two free weekends in-a-row there is plenty at stake for the likes of Inverness Caledonian Thistle's men's and women's teams, Highland League clubs and North Caledonian League outfits too. Caley Thistle take on Dunfermline on home turf tomorrow with the Pars still sitting at the bottom of the table without a win to show for their efforts so far. It was a tricky contest when the sides met in Fife though, ending 1-1, but a win could see Inverness return to top spot in the Championship. For Highland League sides it is cup weekend, with Clachnacuddin hosting Strathspey Thistle in a rematch of the North of Scotland Cup quarter final, while Nairn County are due to make the tough trip to Buckie Thistle hoping to kickstart their campaign. There are some big matches in the North Caledonian League with a top of the table clash between Loch Ness and Golspie Sutherland in Fortrose, plus a Ross-shire derby between Invergor…
Nov 4, 2021
The dream team are back together as Will returns from annual leave to discuss the latest sporting happenings around the Highlands this week with Andrew. Kicking us off in this episode are Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who have gone through a sticky patch of form recently but still sit in second place in the Championship. Is there any need to panic? Do they need to score more goals? How does Wallace Duffy feel after a string of injuries at the start of the season? If you've had any of these questions, we've got you covered. It has been a busy week at Ross County too, but more for what hasn't happened than what has after their game against Hibernian was called off twice because of positive Covid tests. It has broken their momentum after last week's eye-catching 5-0 win over Dundee, and the Staggies will return to action with the toughest possible test - away at Rangers. Can they take something away from Ibrox? There's also more of a spotlight on the rest of football in the area, with…
Oct 28, 2021
It's another solo week for Andrew so it's time to sit back and listen to some of this week's interviews in full - starting with Ross County's Malky Mackay and Regan Charles-Cook after they emphatically scored their first Premiership win of the season against Dundee. It was not so good for Inverness Caledonian Thistle in their midweek match, losing 1-0 to Arbroath, but they have a chance to bounce back quickly against the Championship's top scorers Partick Thistle. In rugby, big matches await both Highland and Ross Sutherland as the former travels down to Biggar in National One and the latter faces Highland Raptors in a Caledonia North Two derby. Kinlochshiel capped off a wonderful 2021 by completing the set of senior shinty trophies, beating Kingussie after extra time to lift the MacTavish Cup, while Highland Boxing Academy could also boast success at the MTK Lonsdale Box Cup as Sarai Grant won a gold medal. Get in touch with the show on Twitter (@Balls_Whistles) or by emailing Bal…
Oct 21, 2021
The dream team are back as Andrew returns to spare Will the editing of the latest Balls & Whistles, and there's loads of discussion to catch up on! First off: Inverness Caledonian Thistle. The Caley Jags are now five points clear at the top of the Championship despite losing their first league match of the season to Hamilton. The differences in recruitment between Billy Dodds and John Robertson is discussed, as well as Wallace Duffy's omission from the starting 11 and Billy Mckay coming into the side for Manny Duku in recent games. Across the bridge, it has not been so positive for Ross County, who are still looking for their first Premiership victory of the campaign after defensive mistakes cost them dearly against Dundee United and St Mirren. We hear a section of Malky Mackay's press conference this week talking about stamping out individual errors, whether a change of formation is on the cards and if the target for 2021/22 is now just to stay up, while Will and Andrew look into ea…
Oct 14, 2021
Episode 39 Will gets what Eric Carmen meant. Caley Thistle, Ross County, Highland Rugby Club and Ross Sutherland's first women's captain.
Will is all by himself and only Eric Carmen understands his pain. Scott Allardice looks at his season with Caley Thistle so far and this weekend's game against Morton. Harry Paton discusses Ross County's chances of winning their first game of the season with St Mirren. In rugby, Highland take on National One league leaders Melrose. And Ross Sutherland Rugby Club appoint their first female captain!
Oct 7, 2021
Episode 38 - A marathon effort for sport in the Highlands
Andrew has gone absent without leave for two weeks, so while he is being hunted down, Will is taking the wheel single handedly. Caley Thistle are in SPFL Trust Trophy action at Elgin City. Ross County have the weekend off but Regan Charles Cook still had time to chat to us about his season so far. All the reaction from the Loch Ness Marathon and a special surprise for an Inverness firefighter who was man of the match in the Camanachd Cup final.
Sep 30, 2021
Will is back, and not a minute too soon as this week sees a bumper episode of Balls & Whistles! We kick off this week's show with a look at the Loch Ness Marathon, which is back for the first time in two years after the pandemic forced its cancellation last year, where over 7500 runners will be taking part in the Festival of Running. For the SPFL teams, it is a similar story to previous episodes. Inverness Caledonian Thistle are still unbeaten at the top of the Championship, and Ross County are still looking for their first win in the Premiership - but are we at the point in the season where Caley Thistle fans can dream of the title and Staggies supporters should be worried? Nairn County certainly are worried after drawing 3-3 with Fort William midweek, keeping them near the bottom of the Highland League. Ronnie Sharp has a job on his hands at Station Park, as does Clachnacuddin with table toppers Fraserburgh heading to Grant Street, while Brora Rangers are putting in their final pre…
Sep 23, 2021
Episode 36 - Ridin' Solo
This time it's Will who is off on holiday, so this week Andrew takes you through some of the major stories of the week with extended interview clips from the key suspects. After starting last week talking about the Camanachd Cup final between Kinlochshiel and Lovat, we talk to the winning manager in Balmacara to kick off this week's show after Johnston Gill made history by winning the biggest prize in shinty. Of course, there is plenty of football to talk about too, and most interestingly Ross County manager Malky Mackay made the decision to change goalkeepers against Hearts last weekend. He talks about why he made the decision to bring Ashley Maynard-Brewer into his starting 11. Highland Rugby Club picked up their first win of the season against Heriots, and now Dave Carson believes that - coupled with the return of some experienced heads - has put his side in a good place ahead of their trip down to Boroughmuir. Highland Martial Arts Centre took a squad down to the European Champ…
Sep 16, 2021
There is only one place to start in this week's episode, and for a change it isn't in football! That's because the Camanachd Cup final takes place on Saturday between Lovat and Kinlochshiel, and Will has been chatting to both teams ahead of the historic match. Inverness Caledonian Thistle have a big match of their own as they travel to the surprise strugglers of the Championship so far, Dunfermline, while Ross County host Hearts in Dingwall. The Highland League clubs and Golspie Sutherland are in Scottish Cup action, while the rest of the North Caley outfits return to league duty. It has not been a great couple of weeks for Highland Rugby Club or Ross Sutherland, but is it too soon to say they each have must-win matches on Saturday? Inverness Craig Dunain will likely just be happy to get back playing, with both their men's and women's squads gearing up for their first games of the 2021/22 season. Finally we hear about the record that Megan Keith is aiming to break and Fin Graham's h…
Sep 9, 2021
It's back to action in a big way for Ross County this weekend as they travel to Glasgow to face Celtic - but can they repeat their shock win at Parkhead from last season with both clubs sporting new-look sides? Inverness Caledonian Thistle have a big match of their own as fellow promotion hopefuls Partick Thistle come calling to the Highland capital. ICT are fresh off a 4-0 win over Buckie Thistle in the SPFL Trust Trophy, but Will is not expecting any of the 10 changes to the starting 11 last time out to break into Billy Dodds' team. There are also updates on Highland League clubs Clachnacuddin, Brora Rangers and Nairn County and a quick look at the North Caledonian League, before we discuss the opening day of the club rugby season last weekend and what Highland and Ross Sutherland have to look forward to tomorrow. Finally, Luke Stoltman is in the headlines months after his younger brother became the World's Strongest Man as he claimed the European title in Leeds last weekend. Get…
Sep 2, 2021
It's a very positive week at Balls & Whistles, not in the least because Strathpeffer paracyclist Fin Graham claimed his second silver medal of the Paralympic Games yesterday morning! We also look back on a solid weekend for both Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ross County in league action, before taking a look at the upcoming matches for ICT, the Highland League and even an Inverness derby in the North Caledonian League. Away from football, club rugby is back! All three of Highland's teams are in action, with the Raptors facing a local derby against Ross Sutherland in the North Caledonia Two which will be the first competitive action any of them have seen in 18 months. There's just enough time to talk about the Camanachd Cup and a first time reporting on a particular sport for Will before we go too. Get in touch with the show on Twitter (@Balls_Whistles) or by emailing email@example.com, and thanks as always are due to Forest Fires for our theme song: Scared of the Da…
Aug 19, 2021
Episode 32 - Champions, Champions, Champions
It is a golden episode of Balls & Whistles as we discuss winning teams and athletes across a number of sports! First up is Rangers as the Scottish Premiership winners travel to Ross County on Sunday with the Staggies having signed yet another player on loan this week - is that a good thing for Malky Mackay's team? Of course, we also look ahead to Inverness Caledonian Thistle's home match against Ayr United in the Championship, the next round of Highland League games and women's football updates, as well as hearing from the Inverness District Amateur Football Association's Premier Division champions Loch Ness. There were a few different winners in athletics over the last week, with Megan Keith and Kirsty Law just two of the names hitting the headlines, while Ross County Cricket Club were successful in their bid to lift the Nosca Senior Cup trophy for the first time since 2000. As always, if you want to get in touch with the show you can do so on Twitter (@Balls_Whistles) or by emaili…
Aug 12, 2021
Episode 31 - Will's declarations
There was some shock news coming out of Brora Rangers last weekend as manager Steven Mackay handed in his resignation. We look at the events that led to Mackay's decision, and wonder where the Cattachs go from here as they look to salvage their Highland League title bid already... It is a free weekend for Ross County and Inverness Caledonian Thistle, but we look back at each team's contrasting fortunes last time out, as well as previewing this weekend's Highland League action. Away from football, Ross County Cricket Club are looking to lift the North of Scotland Senior Cup for the first time in 21 years tomorrow as they host Forres, while in shinty Lovat are Inverness-shire's only representative left after Beauly's dramatic penalty shoot-out defeat to Kyles Athletic. Will also got a taste of martial arts as he talked to HMAC coach Aiden Mackenzie about his squad of Jiu-jitsu hopefuls that are travelling to Wolverhampton for the European Championships. Get in touch with the show on…
Aug 9, 2021
Steven Mackay steps down as manager of Brora Rangers
In a special episode of Balls and Whistles, Steven Mackay tells Alasdair Fraser why he has resigned from Highland League champions Brora Rangers.
Aug 5, 2021
Episode 30 - Why football shouldn't be in the Olympics
The dream team is back together as Andrew returns from two weeks off to discuss Ross County and Inverness Caledonian Thistle's starts to their respective league campaigns with Will. It's not just the SPFL that are back, though, as the Highland League is also a couple of weeks into the season - with disappointing results already on the board for Nairn County and Clachnacuddin. Away from football, can Beauly spring another Camanachd Cup upset to knock out Kyles Athletic and reach the semi finals? Why were basketball players celebrating? How did Queens Park Stadium steal a march on other Scottish venues? And perhaps more importantly, why does Will think football, tennis and golf should not be part of the Olympic Games? Get in touch with the show via Twitter (@Balls_Whistles) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and thanks as always are due to Forest Fires for our theme song Scared of the Dark.
Jul 29, 2021
Episode 29 - When Balls and Whistles got their dictaphones out
Hendo is still on holiday and Will has no friends. So he is on his own again this week reviewing the latest in Highland sport. On this week's show, Alasdair meets with Caley Thistle midfielder Aaron Doran and Ross County manager Malky Mackay to chat about the new league season. Clachnacuddin manager Jordan MacDonald and Nairn County manager Ronnie Sharp tell us their thoughts on how the Highland League has started for them. Federica meets with Inverness Craig Dunain's Erin Green who has become a young rugby ambassador. And Will meets a golfer who is taking part in his 50th consecutive Brora Golf Club Five Day Open.
Jul 22, 2021
Episode 28 - Hendo's brother's stag do.
Will Clark is heroically steering the podcast wheel on his own while Andrew Henderson is on best man duties organising a massive party through Fraserburgh under current social distance guidelines to celebrate his brother's wedding. So this week, he is reading all the big sport stories reported in our newspapers across the Highlands and Moray. It includes reaction to Caley Thistle and Ross County's doomed adventure in the Premier Sports Cup, the Highland League kicking off this weekend, Ross County taking on Forres in T20 final action and a story about Inverness Harriers and a cigarette case.
Jul 15, 2021
The Premier Sports Cup group stages are well under way, but first up we have a Paralympian! Fin Graham's place in the Great Britain paracycling squad for Tokyo was confirmed yesterday morning, and just a couple of hours after the news broke he spoke to Will, and we've got the full conversation here. Of course, Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Brora Rangers have already kicked off in the League Cup, while Ross County play their first match this weekend after being forced to forfeit their opener against Forfar Athletic last weekend. Will was also around the grounds last weekend, visiting Nairn St Ninian as they played a pre-season friendly against Forres, following that up with a trip to Grant Street Park to see Clachnacuddin Women in action against Kirkwall City in the Highlands and Islands League Cup. Finally this week, we discuss Inverness Harrier Stroma Fraser who claimed a gold medal in the Scottish Under-17 National Championships heptathlon - what is in the water at Fortrose Aca…
Jul 8, 2021
Episode 26 - Season Preview
The Scottish domestic football season starts this weekend! It feels like we've barely had time to put our feet up since the 2020/21 campaign ended, but the Premier Sports Cup group stages kick off tonight, so it felt like the right time to do a season preview for Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ross County. With Will on annual leave, Andrew spoke to Andrew Young from the Wyness Shuffle podcast and Staggies' supporter liaison officer Kenny MacLennan to get their thoughts on what's been going on at the Highlands' professional clubs over the off-season, and gauge how optimistic they are about their respective chances of success. You can find The Wyness Shuffle on Twitter (@TheICTPodcast), as well as Kenny (@RCFC_SLO), and you can also get in touch with Balls & Whistles on the platform (@Balls_Whistles) or by emailing email@example.com. Thanks as always are also due to Forest Fires for our theme song, Scared of the Dark.
Jul 1, 2021
There are returns aplenty on this episode of Balls & Whistles, as Andrew is back from annual leave and Covid-19 forces more cancellations across football and shinty in particular. Will did manage to see Inverness Caledonian Thistle in action across two pre-season friendlies though, so he's passing on his impressions of Billy Dodds' side, while with just eight days to go before Ross County open their League Cup group stage the Staggies have added a second signing of the summer to their squad in the form of striker Dominic Samuel. Updates are also incoming from amateur football across the Highlands as well as women's football, before a spotlight on the Back to Basics 10k taking place in Forres this weekend - and yet another club record for hammer thrower Rachel Maclennan. Finally, fixtures are out for the Highland Wildcats who are also looking to recruit new players, and Ross Sutherland Rugby Club's development officer John Mann gets set to take on seven triathlons in seven days next…
Jun 24, 2021
Episode 24 - Tom Stoltman - The strongest man in the world!
In a special episode of Balls and Whistles, we speak to Invergordon athlete Tom Stoltman who is officially the world's strongest man!
Jun 17, 2021
We're still in Euros mode, even if Scotland's defeat to the Czech Republic did bring Will and Andrew back down to earth a little bit. With the Auld Enemy up next, it seemed like the right time for Highland News and Media content editor - and proud Englishman - Andy Dixon to make his Balls & Whistles debut to discuss each side's chances in the crunch match at Wembley. That is not even close to all in a bumper edition of Balls & Whistles though, as Inverness Caledonian Thistle have been busy in the transfer market with four new additions, while Ross County manager Malky Mackay says he will not rush into signing players he does not think are the right fit for the Staggies and Carl Tremarco has hung up his boots. The North Caledonian League division one title was wrapped up last weekend, while ICT Women returned to action in dominant fashion - while the Highlands and Islands League is set to return for the first time in two years. Away from football, there was a bronze medal at the Worl…
Jun 10, 2021
Euro fever has officially hit Balls & Whistles! The tournament kicks off today, while Scotland's first match is on Monday, and we couldn't help but talk all about it. There is still some news about the Highlands' clubs too though, as Tom Walsh has returned to Inverness Caledonian Thistle as Billy Dodds' first signing as head coach, while we hear from Ross Callachan after his move to Ross County was confirmed last week. Highland League fixtures are out for the 2021/22 season too, while Clachnacuddin have also completed a mural tribute to a club legend and reshuffled their backroom staff - and of course North Caledonian League sides and Caley Thistle Women are back in action this weekend. Away from football, there are a few really interesting stories as the course record has been broken at Muir of Ord Golf Club, while Nairn Golf Club are putting the final preparations on their course ahead of the Amateur Championships starting on Monday. Will has also been speaking to the mountain bik…
Jun 3, 2021
Inverness Caledonian Thistle have a new manager! After weeks of speculation, Billy Dodds has been confirmed as the new man in charge at the Caledonian Stadium, and we hear from both Dodds and ICT's chief executive officer Scot Gardiner about the appointment, what the dynamic between Dodds and sporting director John Robertson will be like and what the club's ambitions are for next season. It has been all change in the playing squad at Ross County too, with 10 players getting released by the Staggies. They have started their recruitment drive though by adding Hamilton Academical star Ross Callachan to the squad - likely the first of several new signings this summer. In the North Caledonian League, Alness United secured the Division Two title with a win over Inverness Athletic on Wednesday night at a game Will just about made it to in person, and that's not the only sporting action this summer as shinty, cricket, table tennis and road races are all returning. If you have any questions…
May 27, 2021
There was one story that dominated sports news in the Highlands this week: Malky Mackay being appointed Ross County manager. Will and Andrew take an in-depth look at why Staggies fans are upset, why the club have given him a chance, what could have been done better with the announcement and even a clip of his first press conference in Dingwall. Across the Kessock Bridge in Inverness, Caley Thistle are still looking for a manager themselves, but they did see four of their top youngsters from last season get called up for the Scotland Under-21 squad. North Caledonian League clubs gear up for another week of action as they play out the end of the season, while all of our best wishes go to Nairn County manager Ronnie Sharp who is recovering at home after suffering a heart attack. Away from football, there is another Loughborough International title for discus thrower Kirsty Law, and a particularly heart-warming story in the world of golf. Get in touch with questions or comments by eith…
May 20, 2021
Ross County will be playing Premiership football next year! They secured safety without even having to go through a play-off with a 2-1 win away at Motherwell last weekend, so Will and Andrew break down what that means for John Hughes' future and pick out their star performers for the Staggies over the course of the campaign. Inverness Caledonian Thistle meanwhile are looking for a new manager after John Robertson moved upstairs into a sporting director role, with several different names being linked with the role. Those who are already in the Highland capital though have a reason to celebrate after two homegrown talents were named in the Scotland squad for Euro 2020. Outside of the big two football clubs, the North Caledonian League returns this weekend, while Inverness Caledonian Thistle Women will not have to wait too much longer to get back playing themselves. Away from football there is plenty of good news, from club records and international call-ups in athletics to the first…
May 13, 2021
What a few days it has been for Ross County and Inverness Caledonian Thistle! With news of John Robertson's return to ICT in a newly-created sporting director role breaking after we recorded, we lead with the Staggies being just a point away from securing Premiership football for another season after their 2-1 win over Hamilton. Fear not though Caley Thistle fans, as we have a full interview with Daniel MacKay, whose move to Hibernian was confirmed yesterday morning as he talks about what tempted him to Easter Road, what clicked for him in the final weeks of the season and some of his highlights from his time playing for his hometown club. We also chat about Brora Rangers and Elgin City's play-off defeats, as well as a new Inverness Harriers club record and personal best for Stephen Mackay and cricketer Adrian Neill's call up to the Scotland squad for their ODIs against the Netherlands next week. Get in touch with the show on Twitter (@Balls_Whistles), or by emailing ballsandwhistle…
May 9, 2021
Brora Rangers manager Steven Mackay speaks after Kelty Hearts defeat
Brora Rangers manager Steven Mackay speaks after League Two play-off semi final defeat to Kelty Hearts.
May 6, 2021
There was good and bad to talk about this week, as Brora Rangers suffered a disappointing defeat in the first leg of their pyramid play-off semi final against Kelty Hearts, but Ross County's Premiership fate is back in their own hands after an impressive 2-0 win away at Dundee United. Both sides face crunch ties over the next few days, with the Cattachs needing to overturn their deficit at Kelty and County potentially able to secure safety if they beat Hamilton next Wednesday and other results go their way. Inverness Caledonian Thistle's season is over, so thoughts are turning to evaluating the campaign with player of the year choices - and what's next, with Daniel MacKay's imminent move to Hibernian potentially just the first of a summer exodus from the Highland capital. Paracyclist Fin Graham has been back in action to great effect, leading a British 1-2-3 in Flanders last weekend as he gears up for the Paralympics later this year, while there is also news on a successful fundrais…
Apr 29, 2021
It's official: the pyramid play-off will be going ahead this season. The news broke just hours before recording this episode of Balls & Whistles, so Will and Andrew react to finally getting a resolution, who might get the upper hand when Brora Rangers play Kelty Hearts and whether club 42 will stay up anyway. There was less good news for Inverness Caledonian Thistle who saw their chances of reaching the play-offs come to an end last weekend, leaving with just one game left to play this season against Ayr United. The defeat to Hearts is dissected, as well as whether tomorrow night's match really is a dead rubber, while Ross County's chances of getting a result away at Scottish Cup semi finalists is also on the agenda. Further down the pyramid there are updates from across the Highlands on the summer football season, a blow for Nairn Dunbar Golf Club and s new personal best for Moray runner Kenny Wilson. Get in touch with the show on Twitter (@Balls_Whistles) or by emailing ballsandwh…
Apr 22, 2021
It's play-off central on Balls & Whistles! Ross County have slipped back into the Premiership's play-off spot, Inverness Caledonian Thistle's chances of making the top four in the Championship took a hit and Brora Rangers don't even know if they will get their chance at promotion. Will and Andrew discuss the last week's results and performances, and the knock on impact that could have on those clubs' ambitions, as well as covering the latest updates from the Highland League. Many other sports and clubs will be looking forward to returning when restrictions begin to ease on Monday, and Highland Boxing Club are one of those desperate to get members back in the gym. That does not mean head coach Liam Foy will be rushing into anything before his athletes are ready though... Get in touch with the show on Twitter (@Balls_Whistles) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks as always go to Forest Fires for our theme song Scared of the Dark.
Apr 16, 2021
Scott Allardice speaking after Caley Thistle's Scottish Cup 2-1 defeat at St Mirren
Scott Allardice speaking after Caley Thistle's Scottish Cup 2-1 defeat at St Mirren
Apr 15, 2021
Inverness Caledonian Thistle are still in the play-off places after all the games in hand in the Championship have been played, but before they can think about their promotion chances they have a trip to Paisley to take on St Mirren in the Scottish Cup with a quarter final berth up for grabs. Ross County meanwhile have a free week in their fight against the drop in the Premiership, but the camp is in a far more positive mood in Dingwall after battling back from behind twice against relegation rivals Kilmarnock last time out. Manager John Hughes has been talking about the importance of experience in the coming weeks, as well as the possibility of Brora Rangers getting into the SPFL. There is also news of contract extensions at Highland League outfit Clachnacuddin, the draw for shinty's Balliemore Cup, and a new name for the Highland Pool Tour dedicated to Gavin Phillips. Get in touch with questions or comments on Twitter (@Balls_Whistles) or by emailing email@example.com…
Apr 8, 2021
Will is back from annual leave, and he was thrown straight into the action as Caley Thistle backed up their Highland derby win in the Scottish Cup with an even more impressive performance away at Morton. The guys discuss the confidence Inverness clearly have going forward right now, and there's even an early shout for player of the year. On the flip side, it was a painful derby for Ross County, and they will need to pick themselves up quickly ahead of a massive trip to Kilmarnock in their first post-split match. There's also news from the North Caledonian League, who have announced when they will be returning to action to finish off the 2020/21 season - and the prospect of a tier six in the Scottish football pyramid appears to be becoming a reality. Elsewhere, discus thrower Kirsty Law passed the qualifying standard for next year's Commonwealth Games by setting a new personal best, the Camanachd Cup draw was made for shinty clubs, and despite snow hitting the Highlands this week the…
Apr 5, 2021
Inverness Craig Dunain RFC
It's exciting times for Inverness Craig Dunain Rugby Club, as they are partners in a new artificial pitch to be built at the Inverness campus of the University of the Highlands and Islands. After moving around various pitches to train and play games in recent years, this will finally give them a permanent home, so Andrew talked to club chair Jess Butler to chat about what kind of effect this will have on the club's future. Get in touch with the show on Twitter (@Balls_Whistles), or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and our thanks as always go to Forest Fires for our theme song Scared of the Dark.
Apr 1, 2021
It's time for a Highland derby! Inverness Caledonian Thistle travel to Ross County tonight in the Scottish Cup for the first meeting between the sides in two years. With Will still on annual leave, Andrew is once again joined by Alasdair Fraser to preview the match, which in recent years has seen everything from goals and red cards to dramatic penalty shoot-outs. Brora Rangers also return to action after knocking Hearts out, looking to make it one step further by beating Stranraer. They were also crowned Highland League champions for the second year in-a-row, despite having only played three games - a decision that led to Balls & Whistle's first even listener question! League reconstruction is on the cards in women's football with the Championship North and South set to be merged from next season, while Inverness Craig Dunain have finally found a permanent home. All that and more on the latest Balls & Whistles. Get in touch with the show on Twitter (@Balls_Whistles) or by emailing b…
Mar 25, 2021
You might have heard, but this week Brora Rangers pulled off one of the biggest shocks in Scottish Cup history be defeating Championship leaders Hearts, so of course that's what leading the way in the latest episode of Balls & Whistles. Will is on annual leave, so Andrew is joined by Alasdair Fraser for the second week in-a-row to dissect the Cattachs' monumental victory and what it meant to the players. Inverness Caledonian Thistle also set up a Scottish Cup third round match against Ross County by overcoming Buckie Thistle, but first they have to face Arbroath in the league tomorrow - while with the Staggies' idle this weekend because of the international break the guys discuss John Hughes' future at the club. There is also news on fundraising challenges from both Inverness Athletic and Ross Sutherland Rugby Club, while reigning North of Scotland cricket champions Highland look like they will be forced to pull out of the senior league this year. Get in touch with the show on Twit…
Mar 21, 2021
John Hughes - That is the worst i've seen Ross County
John Hughes says Ross County's 1-0 defeat at St Johnstone was the worst he has seen the team play since he took over as manager.
Mar 20, 2021
Jordan Tillson speaks after Ross County's 1-0 defeat at St Johnstone
Midfielder Jordan Tillson says Ross County will learn not to concede late goals again this season after late heartbreak in the 1-0 defeat at St Johnstone.
Mar 20, 2021
Balls and Whistles speaks to Inverness cyclist Beth Maciver who has been selected by Spanish team Movistar to represent them at the 2021 Zwift Racing League against the top e-cyclists in the world.
Mar 18, 2021
It's a big week for football as League One, League Two and the Scottish Cup get set to return! We felt that called for the cavalry, so Will and Andrew were joined for this episode by Craig Christie and Alasdair Fraser to preview the action over the next few days and cover the biggest talking points in north sport. First on the agenda is a discussion on the proposed plan to expand League Two, which could see two sides from the Lowland League, two teams from the Highland League and Colts sides from Rangers and Celtic join the lowest tier of the SPFL, before attention turns to Elgin City's return to action for the first time in 2021 and next week's Scottish Cup ties. Of course, there is still time to talk about Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ross County's respective weeks, before a couple of non-football stories in cycling and golf to wrap things up. Get in touch with the show on Twitter (@Balls_Whistles) or by emailing email@example.com, and as always thanks go to Fores…
Mar 13, 2021
Daniel MacKay speaks after Caley Thistle 0-0 draw with Raith Rovers.
Daniel MacKay speaks after Caley Thistle 0-0 draw with Raith Rovers.
Mar 11, 2021
There's good and bad on this episode of Balls & Whistles, as Ross County secured a massive win against Kilmarnock to open up a gap to the bottom of the table, but Inverness Caledonian Thistle find themselves in their own relegation battle - and that's according to ICT's own players. Will and Andrew examine how they got into those positions over recent matches, as well as previewing the weekend's games with the end of the campaign in sight. There are a few other stories that get a mention too, with an update on both the Highland and North Caledonian Leagues as well as the shinty season, while some of the discussions from previous weeks resurface with news on Greg Lobban, Jamie Dobie and the Amateur Championships at Nairn Dunbar and Nairn Golf Club. Get in touch with the show either on Twitter @Balls_Whistles, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and our thanks go to Forest Fires as always for their song Scared of the Dark as our theme.
Mar 4, 2021
It has been another busy week for sport in the Highlands, not least because of the announcement that the Scottish Cup will be back later this month! With seven Highland League teams left in the draw, Will and Andrew look at how likely it is those sides will actually return to action for the competition, and what the fate of the league itself is likely to be. After a dubious penalty decision cost Ross County a result away at St Mirren last time out, there is also discussion over whether VAR would be a good thing for Scottish football, whether Caley Thistle are in a relegation battle, and why ICT Women are unlikely to return any time soon. Two of the Highlands' brightest products in rugby have also been in the news, while finally golfer Russell Knox had some kind words to say about his former home course. Get in touch with the show on Twitter @Balls_Whistles or by emailing email@example.com, and thanks as always go to Forest Fires for use of their song Scared of the Dark…
Feb 26, 2021
Robbie Deas speaks after Inverness Caledonian Thistle's 1-1 draw against Hearts.
Robbie Deas feels Caley Thistle could have nicked all three points against Hearts on Friday night.
Feb 25, 2021
Will and Andrew are back looking at a bumper week of sport in the Highlands! It started off with the sad news that Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager John Robertson would be temporarily stepping away from the club on compassionate grounds, with former Rangers, Hearts and Dundee player Neil McCann coming in as interim boss. Ross County also defeated Celtic, with the guys discussing who stood out in that match, as well as talking about ICT's draw against Alloa on Tuesday and previewing the weekend's matches. Teenage rugby sensation Jamie Dobie was named in the senior Scotland squad for the first time ahead of their Six Nations fixture against France - only to see the match postponed due to positive Covid-19 cases in the French camp, while there is also an update on a Athletics Inverness' first virtual events, Nairn County's thoughts on a potential switch to summer football and more! As always, thanks go to Forest Fires for use of their song Scared of the Dark as our theme, and you c…
Feb 21, 2021
Mark Ridgers speaks after Caley Thistle beat Ayr United 2-0 at Somerset Park.
Goalkeeper Mark Ridgers praises Caley Thistle's reaction to losing at home to Queen of the South during midweek with a superb win at Ayr United.
Feb 18, 2021
Episode 6 - Will is all on his own as Hendo takes an undeserved holiday. He looks at the biggest stories in Highland sport this week in a compact round up.
Feb 11, 2021
It's a bumper week of news in football with the headline being... there isn't really any. At least not for League One, League Two, the Highland League, women's football and beyond. Will and Andrew are joined by Chris Saunderson from the Northern Scot to discuss the latest delay to all of those levels returning to action, as well as Anthony McDonald returning to Inverness Caledonian Thistle and previewing Ross County's game against Hibernian. Also on the agenda is an update on the status of the Inverness Half Marathon, and a temporary name change for Ross Sutherland in light of Scotland's Calcutta Cup victory last weekend. Get in touch with questions or comments on Twitter @Balls_Whistles, or by emailing us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks too, as always, goes to Forest Fires for use of their song Scared of the Dark as our theme.
Feb 4, 2021
It has been a busy week for Highland sport with Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ross County both on the road during the week. Will and Andrew discuss those games as well as looking forward to the weekend, asking whether Ross County should be looking up or down, if Jordan White should start against Dundee United, as well as just how bad the weather really was in Arbroath on Wednesday night. Also on the agenda this week is the news that the Highland Cross will once again not take place in 2021, new co-captains at reigning Highlands and Islands League champions Clachnacuddin, and a new face on the coaching team at Highland Boxing Academy. Get in touch with the guys with comments or questions on Twitter @Balls_Whistles, and as always thanks to Forest Fires for use of their song Scared of the Dark as our theme.
Jan 28, 2021
It has been a busy week for Ross County and Inverness Caledonian Thistle, with three matches between the teams as well as a few comings and goings in Dingwall. Will and Andrew discuss both teams throwing away leads as well as Staggies' signings Joe Hilton and Jordan White, as well as Inverness boxer Jake MacDonald turning professional and the postponement of the Etape Loch Ness. Let us know what you think of the podcast, and get in touch with questions or topics for discussion on Twitter @balls_whistles! And as always, #BuyAPaper, and thanks to Forest Fires for our theme - their song Scared of the Dark.
Jan 21, 2021
Will and Andrew return for episode two of Balls & Whistles! This week Ross County's fantastic win over Aberdeen is on the agenda, as well as looking forward to their game against Rangers at Ibrox, and Caley Thistle's home match against Alloa Athletic - if it goes ahead. There's also talk of two Highland distance runners being added to Scottish Athletics' Marathon Project with an eye on the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year, as well as the Invernessian rugby sensation that will be training with the Scotland Six Nations squad. Let us know what you think of the podcast so far, and remember to listen to yesterday's bonus episode with very special guest Stuart Kettlewell, who chatted about his career, coaching and his departure from Ross County last month. Thanks are also in order, as always, to Forest Fires for use of their song Scared of the Dark as our theme.
Jan 20, 2021
Bonus: Stuart Kettlewell
On top of the weekly shows we do looking at the latest news and the weekend's matches, every now and then Balls & Whistles will bring you a special episode where we look in depth at one topic, or at one person's career. This is the first of those special episodes, featuring former Queen's Park, Clyde and Ross County player - and ex-Staggies manager - Stuart Kettlewell. He takes us through his football philosophy, what made Ross County so special in his time there as a player, all the way through to his sacking last month and what the future might have in store for him. Huge thanks must go out to Stuart for giving up his time to talk to us and being so candid at times, and also as always to Forest Fires for the theme music, their song Scared of the Dark. Check back here on Friday as Andrew and Will catch up on the week's news, and in the meantime #BuyAPaper
Jan 14, 2021
It's the first fully-fledged episode of Balls and Whistles! Here Andrew and Will are joined by Jonny Clark to talk about the shutdown of all football outwith the Scottish Premiership and Championship, and how that might impact on Highland League clubs. Then there's some Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Ross County chat, before rounding things off with some shinty and American Football - is there a SuperBowl in an Invernessian's future? Thanks once again to Jonny Clark for being our first guest, and to Forest Fires for our opening and closing theme, Scared of the Dark.
Jan 10, 2021
Balls and Whistles will be launching later this month, so in the meantime here’s what to expect.