Scottish Highland Football League

1893-date

 

See also

Main index

Club directory

Highland Emergency League

Highland League tables

Central Highland League

Reserve football

 

 

 

 

In 2007, the Highland League decided to change its name to the Scottish Highland League, possibly in anticipation of the formation of a Scottish ”pyramid” structure.  Formed on 4 August 1893 at the Workmen's Club in Inverness it is currently the second oldest, and strongest, after the Scottish Football League, having outlasted the numerous leagues that had been set up during the 1890s and early 1900s. The main reason for this is probably the lack of other Senior clubs in the area (until 1994, the nearest Scottish League side was Aberdeen), and the general weakness of the region’s junior clubs. However it has been stung in recent years after five of its strongest clubs left for the Scottish League.

In 1893 the eight original members were Cameron Highlanders, Clachnacuddin, Forres Mechanics, Inverness Caledonian, Inverness Citadel, Inverness Thistle, Inverness Union and Ross County. Although the last named club resigned in November the rest completed their matches with Inverness Thistle being crowned as the first ever Highland League champions.

There were a high number of changes to the league’s line-up in the early years. Cameron left after the first season, although they competed again in 1897-98, 1903-04 and 1919-20. Forres were absent in 1895-96 and 1900-01, and because they couldn’t fulfil any fixtures after April 1897, their record for the 1896-97 season was deleted from the final table. Elgin City missed season 1896-97, but returned, as Elgin City United, in 1898. The “United” part was dropped after 1900. The town had two clubs in 1900-01 when Elgin Caledonian also took part. Inverness was also well represented during the 1890s. As well as Caledonian, Clach and Thistle, Celtic, Union and Citadel all competed, the last named continuing until they lost their ground in 1935. They were also League champions on one occasion.

Other clubs to join up were Buckie Thistle (1909) and the 93rd Highlanders in 1912. Aberdeen also entered their reserve side from 1912 to 1914. Nairn County were also elected to the league in 1914, but couldn’t compete until 1919 after the league closed down because of the War.

Fraserburgh were elected in 1922, and although they left four years later, they rejoined in 1929. Keith joined in 1924 with Aberdeen ‘A’, who subsequently went on to win their second title before leaving again. Huntly (1929) and Ross County (1929) were among the other sides to join in the 1920s. Ross had been formed from Dingwall Victoria United who had previously competed in the North Caledonian League. They had replaced Black Watch, one of a number of military sides to compete, the others being Cameron Highlanders (1919-20), Seaforth Highlanders (1919-20), RAF (1939-40, 1947-48), HGTB (1948-49), HLI (1949-50), KOSB (1931-1934) and 30th TB (1946-47).

The league continued to expand and the 1930s saw the arrival of Peterhead, Deveronvale and Rothes. Unfortunately 1935 saw the demise of Inverness Citadel. When the Second World War broke out in September 1939, the league programme had barely begun when all football was suspended. The league closed down for the duration but fourteen teams entered two competitions, the Central Highland League and the Highland Emergency League, and  played out the rest of the season.

1946 saw the league restart, and the introduction of the Highland League Cup. Initially the competition was played in a knock-out format until a group system was introduced in 1951. This continued until 1966 when the earlier system was reintroduced. Apart from the coming and going of the military teams, only one club was to join in the next forty years, and that was Brora Rangers in 1963.

In 1983, the league was the first in Scotland to introduce the new points system, awarding a win three points instead of two. Two years later Fort William were elected and the were joined in 1994 by Wick Academy. The latter had been brought in to even the league up to sixteen clubs after Ross County, Inverness Caledonian and Inverness Thistle all left for the Scottish League. The two Inverness sides had merged as Caledonian Thistle. The expansion of the Scottish Premier League in 2000 meant that their were two places available in the Scottish League and these were filled by Elgin City and Peterhead. Although this left the league with an even number of clubs, Junior club Inverurie Loco Works were allowed to turn Senior and join as a fifteenth club.

As members of the North Of Scotland FA, the league clubs dominate the North Of Scotland Cup, with the only other entrants being Golspie Sutherland of the North Caledonian League, the only club in that body to hold full Scottish FA membership. Clubs also compete for the two principal County trophies, the Inverness and the Aberdeenshire Cups.

 

Highland League Champions

Highland League Cup winners

1893-94 Inverness Thistle

1894-95 Clachnacuddin

1895-96 Inverness Caledonian*

1896-97 Clachnacuddin

1897-98 Clachnacuddin

1898-99 Inverness Caledonian

1899-00 Inverness Caledonian

1900-01 Clachnacuddin

1901-02 Inverness Caledonian

1902-03 Clachnacuddin

1903-04 Clachnacuddin

1904-05 Clachnacuddin*

1905-06 Clachnacuddin

1906-07 Inverness Thistle

1907-08 Clachnacuddin

1908-09 Inverness Citadel

1909-10 Inverness Thistle

1910-11 Inverness Caledonian

1911-12 Clachnacuddin

1912-13 Aberdeen 'A'

1913-14 Inverness Caledonian

1914-15      unfinished

 

1919-20 Buckie Thistle

1920-21 Clachnacuddin

1921-22 Clachnacuddin

1922-23 Clachnacuddin

1923-24 Clachnacuddin

1924-25 Aberdeen 'A'

1925-26 Inverness Caledonian

1926-27 Buckie Thistle

1927-28 Buckie Thistle

1928-29 Inverness Thistle

1929-30 Huntly

1930-31 Inverness Caledonian

1931-32 Elgin City

1932-33 Fraserburgh

1933-34 Buckie Thistle

1934-35 Elgin City

1935-36 Inverness Thistle

1936-37 Buckie Thistle

1937-38 Fraserburgh

1938-39 Clachnacuddin

1939-40      unfinished

 

1946-47 Peterhead

1947-48 Clachnacuddin

1948-49 Peterhead

1949-50 Peterhead

1950-51 Inverness Caledonian

1951-52 Inverness Caledonian

1952-53 Elgin City

1953-54 Buckie Thistle

1954-55      unfinished

1955-56 Elgin City

1956-57 Buckie Thistle

1957-58 Buckie Thistle

1958-59 Rothes*

1959-60 Elgin City

1960-61 Elgin City*

1961-62 Keith

1962-63 Elgin City

1963-64 Inverness Caledonian

1964-65 Elgin City

1965-66 Elgin City

1966-67 Ross County

1967-68 Elgin City

1968-69 Elgin City

1969-70 Elgin City

1970-71 Inverness Caledonian

1971-72 Inverness Thistle

1972-73 Inverness Thistle*

1973-74 Elgin City

1974-75 Clachnacuddin

1975-76 Nairn County*

1976-77 Inverness Caledonian

1977-78 Inverness Caledonian

1978-79 Keith

1979-80 Keith

1980-81 Keith

1981-82 Inverness Caledonian

1982-83 Inverness Caledonian

1983-84 Inverness Caledonian

1984-85 Keith

1985-86 Forres Mechanics

1986-87 Inverness Thistle

1987-88 Inverness Caledonian

1988-89 Peterhead

1989-90 Elgin City

1990-91 Ross County

1991-92 Ross County

1992-93 Elgin City - Championship withheld

1993-94 Huntly

1994-95 Huntly

1995-96 Huntly

1996-97 Huntly

1997-98 Huntly

1998-99 Peterhead

1999-00 Keith     

2000-01 Cove Rangers

2001-02 Fraserburgh

2002-03 Deveronvale

2003-04 Clachnacuddin

2004-05 Huntly

2005-06 Deveronvale

2006-07 Keith

2007-08 Cove Rangers

2008-09 Cove Rangers

2009-10 Brora Rangers

2010-11 Buckie Thistle

2011-12 Forres Mechanics

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Forres Mechanics

Clachnacuddin

Huntly

Ross County

Clachnacuddin

Huntly

Inverness Caledonian

Buckie Thistle

Forres Mechanics

Buckie Thistle

Buckie Thistle

Buckie Thistle

Fraserburgh

Elgin City

Buckie Thistle

Lossiemouth

Peterhead

Nairn County

Keith

Peterhead

Elgin City

Peterhead

Ross County

Inverness Caledonian

Inverness Thistle

Inverness Caledonian

Inverness Thistle

Keith

Keith

Keith

Inverness Caledonian

Inverness Caledonian

Ross County

Buckie Thistle

Peterhead

Clachnacuddin

Elgin City

Keith

Forres Mechanics

Keith

Inverness Caledonian

Inverness Thistle

Keith

Peterhead

Elgin City

Ross County

Huntly

Huntly

Cove Rangers

Huntly

Lossiemouth

Elgin City

Forres Mechanics

Cove Rangers

Forres Mechanics

Forres Mechanics

Keith

Clachnacuddin

Cove Rangers

Fraserburgh

Keith

Inverurie Loco Works 

Inverurie Loco Works

Forres Mechanics

Nairn County

Buckie Thistle

 

 

Highland League Membership

 

Aberdeen 'A'

Black Watch

Brora Rangers

Buckie Thistle

Cameron Highlanders

Clachnacuddin

Cove Rangers

Deveronvale

Elgin Caledonians

Elgin City

Forres Mechanics

Formartine United

Fort William

Fraserburgh

Highland Garrison Training Battalion

Highland Light Infantry

Highland Light Infantry (1st Battalion)

Huntly

Inverness Caledonian

Inverness Celtic

Inverness Citadel

Inverness Thistle

Inverness Union

Inverurie Loco Works

Keith

King's Own Scottish Borderers

Lossiemouth

Nairn County

93rd Highlanders

Peterhead

Ross County

RAF Kinloss

Rothes

Seaforths

Strathspey Thistle

Turriff United

30th Training Battalion

Wick Academy

1912-1915, 1924-25

1904-05, 1926-1929

1963-

1909-

1893-94, 1897-98, 1903-04, 1919-20

1893-

1986-

1938-

1900-01

1895-96, 1897-1901, 1902-2000

1893-1895, 1896-1901, 1902-

2009-

1985-

1922-1926, 1928-

1948-49

1907-1909

1949-50

1928-

1893-1994

1897-1899

1893-1935

1893-1994

1893-1896, 1897-1899

2001-

1924-

1931-1934

1946-

1919-

1912-1914

1931-2000

1893-94, 1929-1994

1939-40, 1947-48

1938-

1910-11, 1919-1920

2009-

2009-

1946-47

1994-

 

*Elgin City known as Elgin City United in 1902-03

 

Note (1):

The following clubs left for the Scottish League

Inverness Caledonian and Inverness Thistle merged as Caledonian Thistle in 1994.

Ross County in 1994.

Elgin City and Peterhead  in 2000.

 

Note (2):

Royal Air Force actually joined in 1939-40, but played just four games before the League was abandoned after the outbreak of War.

Two leagues were then set-up in its place:

 

Highland Emergency League 1939-40

Central Highland League 1939-40

Inverness Thistle

Clachnacuddin

Army XI

Evanton RAF/Service XI

Ross County

Nairn County

Forres Mechanics

Inverness Caledonian

Rothes

Elgin City

Buckie Thistle

RAF Kinloss

Lossiemouth

Keith

 

Buckie and Keith were replaced by an Army XI

For the second series