The Highland League will hopefully be back to normal in 2021-22 following the disruptions caused by Covid last year. This will be its 119th season and it is back up to 18 teams with Forres Mechanics returning and of course, relegated Brechin City swelling the numbers.
It is also going to be interesting this year as there is an extended pyramid scheme in place. This ratifies a tier six and a potential progression path for clubs in the Midlands Football League, North Caledonian Football League and the North Super League. The side finishing bottom will enter a playoff with the champions of these leagues. Naturally, nothing is ever simple and this will require the champions to meet certain criteria. Still, it’s another step on the path towards a proper pyramid scheme and it should add interest.
Last year the season was halted after three games and Brora Rangers was crowned champions. This was their second successive title but can they do it again in 2021-22? Well, both of those seasons were somewhat curtailed by the pandemic, however, they don’t have Cove Rangers to compete against so they should go close.
Brechin City has had a catastrophic last four seasons falling from the Scottish Championship (tier 2) to the Highland League with little resistance. Their poor fans have had to endure a run of only 15 wins in 121 games but will be hoping for a bit more ambition this season.
They have revamped the squad and have added experience with Iain Davidson who has played at the Scottish Premier League level. Brechin has also brought in a number of promising young loanees who should contribute. Getting back to the league will not be easy, however, they look to be laying the foundations for a challenge.
Fraserburgh has kept their squad together which is not easy at this level and is normally one of the better sides. They should go close while Formartine United have added a lot of promising young players to the squad. Both look like being in the top half at least and could be challengers.
Huntley has brought in a nice mix of youth and experience and might be good enough to break into the top half dozen.
Who will Struggle
Fort William won’t have any proper home games this season as Claggan Park has been deemed unplayable. This will not help, although they do seem to have recruited a few interesting players this year. Not finishing bottom will be a good season for them. Keith & Strathspey Thistle could also struggle as could Turriff United. Seeing any of these in the top half would be a surprise.
Anyway here is out best guess at how the table might look by seasons end.
Highland League 2021-22 Final Table Prediction
- Brechin City
- Brora Rangers
- Formartine United
- Buckie Thistle
- Forres Mechanics
- Inverurie Loco Works
- Nairn County
- Wick Academy
- Strathspey Thistle
- Turriff United
- Fort William
So there we have it, our predictions for the 2021-22 Highland League. While you are here why not check out our recent Scottish Football posts or indulge in some of our Football Quizzes we even have some on the Highland League.