Greenock football legend John McMaster announced as chieftain of 2024 Gourock Highland Games

A Greenock football legend has been named as the chieftain for this year’s Gourock Highland Games.

Fresh from receiving an outstanding achievement award and a special reception from Inverclyde Council, John McMaster has agreed to do the honours at the annual flagship event in Battery Park on Sunday, May 12.

The footballing hero famously helped Aberdeen beat Real Madrid to win the 1983 Cup Winners’ Cup at the final in Gothenburg.

John, who grew up in Gibshill and still lives locally, also won league titles and cups at Aberdeen, is in the club’s hall of fame, and played with hometown club Greenock Morton, as well as serving as assistant manager at Cappielow.

The chieftain honour also comes as Greenock Morton celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.

John said: “I’m always representing and talking about Inverclyde so it’s an honour to be asked to be the chieftain of the Gourock Highland Games.

“I’m a Greenock boy born and bred and I know how important the games are to the town and the whole of Inverclyde.

“It’s such a well-run and popular event that brings everyone together and we get lots of visitors to the area.

“I’m really looking forward to being this year’s chieftain, I couldn’t say no when I was asked.

“Let the games begin!”

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Chieftain John McMaster and Provost Drew McKenzie

The chieftain was welcomed by the Provost of Inverclyde, Drew McKenzie, piper Ryan Sims from the Lower Clyde Pipes and Drums, regular ‘heavy’ competitor, Kyle Randalls and some young dancers from May Hughes School of Dance.

Provost Drew McKenzie said: “We’re delighted John has agreed to be the chieftain of this year’s games.

“John is a proud son of Inverclyde and I know the games are in safe hands with him.

“This is the flagship event for Inverclyde and it’s always well attended and well supported.

“We have another busy schedule planned with something for everyone to enjoy.

“I can’t wait to see the crowds along for another cracker of a day on the shores of the Clyde at Battery Park.”

This year’s event will feature traditional heavy events like tossing the caber and hammer throwing and for the first time, will also include female competitors.

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Dancers from May Hughes School of Dance

There will also be Highland dancing, pipe bands, arts and crafts stalls featuring local artisans, and a great selection of food and drink with something for all tastes.

Inverclyde Council’s library service will be delivering fun, family friendly activities throughout the day including their popular Bookbug sessions for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and families.

Youngsters can burn off some energy by taking part in Inverclyde Active Schools’ mini Highland Games, and there will be fun for the whole family including fair rides, a climbing wall, bungee trampolines and more.

The Gourock Highland Games are the first of the season and are organised in partnership with the Royal Scottish Highland Games Association (RSHGA).

Charlie Murray from the RSHGA, said: “Battery Park is a location fitting for the opening of the 2024 Highland Games Season as it offers stunning views across the Clyde.

“Inverclyde Council has been working hard in the months leading up to the event, bringing together a programme of traditional heavyweight events for both male and female athletes, Highland Dancing and an all grades Pipe Band competition.

“There will also be a vast selection of trade stalls for visitors to purchase gifts and treats and a large selection of various catering outlets.

“I am sure everyone who comes along on the day will leave with fond memories.”

The games are also part of the Inverclyde Meliora Festival for the third consecutive year.

For more information about the 2024 Gourock Highland Games or the Meliora Festival click on the links in the right hand column.