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Final scores and scorers: Saturday 29th July

Buckie Thistle 1-0 Clach
Buckie: John McLeod (37)

Cove Rangers 5-0 Huntly
Cove: Paul McManus (23), Eric Watson (65), Johnny Smith (75, 83, 90)     

Deveronvale 3-4 Turriff Utd
Deveronvale: Grant Noble (7 pen, 20 pen), Chris Blackhall (65)

Turriff: Scott Miller (15, 28, 60), David Ross (24)

Forres Mechanics 1-0 Nairn County
Forres: Stuart Soane (18)

Formartine Utd 5-0 Inverurie Locos
Formartine: Archie MacPhee (3, 22, 68) Scott Ferries (19), Conor Gethins (86)

Fraserburgh 3-1 Wick Academy
Fraserburgh: Paul Campbell (53, 61), Gary Harris (65)

Wick: Richard Macadie (20 pen)

Keith 2-1 Fort William
Keith: Donnie Fraser (51), Trialist (52 og)

Fort: John Treasurer (70)

Lossiemouth 0-2 Brora Rangers
Brora: Steven Mackay (20), Martin Maclean (69)

Rothes 3-0 Strathspey Thistle
Rothes: Daniel Moore, Dale Gillespie, Craig Cormack

Team news for matches on Saturday 29th July

The 2017/18 Highland League season kicks off this afternoon and champions Buckie Thistle will have a real fight on their hands to try and retain their title. A lot could depend on whether the Jags can hold onto HFL player of the year Kevin Fraser.

Cove Rangers and Brora Rangers fought all the way to the final day last season and are sure to be challenging again this term. Brora have added some serious firepower to an already potent attack with the signing of Craig Gunn from Elgin City, while Cove have added Ryan Strachan and Jamie Masson to their midfield to compensate for the huge loss of Blair Yule to Arbroath. 

Formartine, Fraserburgh and Forres have all made good additions to their squads and will hope to improve on their top six finishes last term, while it will be fascinating to see how the 12 summer signings settle in at Rothes and how far they can climb the table.

Team news for tomorrow’s games:

Buckie Thistle v Clach

The Highland League Championship flag will be unfurled at Victoria Park before Buckie face Clach and the Jags will be without Craig Cowie and Sean Wood with long term injuries. Chris Angus and Drew Copeland are suspended and Sean Carroll and Ross Elder are both on loan to Deveronvale. Ross Salmon and Declan Milne are also on loan to Dyce Juniors and East End respectively.

Clach have added experience to their defence with the captures of Martin MacDonald and Sean Webb. They’re without Martin Callum, John Campbell, David McGurk, Liam Shewan and Fraser Robertson through injury and the unavailable Ryan Mackintosh. Daniel Maclennan is suspended and Struan Scott-Woodhouse is away to live in Dubai.

Cove Rangers v Huntly

Cove boss John Sheran has a full squad to choose from apart from Mitch Megginson, who is suspended. Summer signings Ryan Strachan and Jamie Masson could make their full debuts for the 'home' side.

Huntly also have a fully fit squad for the short trip to Harlaw Park and could hand first starts to new boys Martin Charlesworth and Mike Ewen up front.

Deveronvale v Turriff Utd

Deveronvale kick off their campaign with a home derby against Turriff and will be minus the suspended Steven Davidson and Liam Forbes. William Pauline, Michael Dunn, Ross Elder and Sean Carroll could all make their Vale debuts.

Turriff have several players missing, including Aaron Sherman, Chris Herd, Jordi Walker, Leszek Nowosielski, Russell McBride and Cammy Booth. Liam Strachan is also doubtful, while Scott Miller, Kevin Flett and Calum Reid could all make their debuts for the club.

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Betfred League Cup: Buckie Th 0 Dundee Utd 3

The Scottish Championship favourites swept aside the Highland league champions in the Betfred Cup at Victoria Park.

Goals from McMullan, King and Durnan were enough for Dundee United to take the three points, leaving them in a nice position to get out of the group.

This was the second defeat for the Jags in the tournament and they travel to Dens Park to face Dundee on Saturday in the hope of keeping their slim cup hopes alive.

The first chance fell to ex Celtic midfielder Paul McMullan when his effort from inside the area was saved superbly by Daniel Bell to prevent the Tangerines from taking the lead.

The experienced James Keatings fired a free kick from 25 yards out narrowly over the bar minutes after the McMullan chance.

The deadlock was broken 17 minutes in after a mix up with Lewis Mackinnon and John Maitland meant the cross couldn’t be cleared and McMullan volleyed home 8 yards out.

Hibs loanee Sam Stanton then teed up ex-Hearts winger Billy King, and from outside the area he rifled an effort low beyond Bell to double the Dundee side’s lead.

Buckie’s first chance fell midway through the half but McLeod couldn’t generate enough power on his header from a Chris Angus thow in.

The Highland League champions were unlucky as some neat one-two passes allowed Copeland to send Angus through on goal, but Lewis was quick off his line to prevent the forward from cutting the deficit.

With 10 minutes to go before the break centre half Mark Durnan rose highest in the Buckie area to head a third from Keatings' corner.

Minutes after the third another Keatings corner caused a whole lot of trouble as captain William Edjenguele headed an effort goalward, however it was cleared off the line by Andrew Skinner.

Somehow United never added to their lead when McMullan put it on a plate for King at the back post, but the winger couldn’t get a connection on the ball.

Bell was then quick off his line to deny Congolese striker Patrick N’Koyi, who was through one on one with the keeper.

Buckie’s best chance of the half fell just minutes before the break, but Mcleod couldn’t beat the Southampton loanee Harry Lewis.

The Highland League side kept it tight in the second half and prevented United creating very much, with Bell saving the only clear cut chance of the half from Stanton.

There was a worrying moment for Tangerine’s boss Ray McKinnon as forward James Keatings had to be stretchered off the park after a challenge with a Buckie defender, which reduced the Terrors to 10 men.

Captain Fraser had an audacious effort in the dying minutes but he couldn't trouble Lewis in the visitor's goal.

Buckie fought hard but the class of the full time opposition was clear to see and they ran out comfortable winners in the end. 

Buckie draw Dundee clubs in group stage of League Cup

Highland League champions Buckie Thistle have been drawn alongside Dundee and Dundee United in Group C of the Betfred Scottish League Cup.

The Jags will also face recently relegated Raith Rovers and League Two Cowdenbeath, who defeated Thistle's play-off conquerors East Kilbride to maintain their SFL status.

Ties will be announced next week and will take place between the weekends of Saturday 15th and 29th July. 

Highland League fixtures for 2017/18 announced

The SHFL fixtures for season 2017/18 have been released, opening day games include three derby clashes between Deveronvale and Turriff, Formartine and Inverurie Locos and Forres and Nairn.

Opening day matches and the full fixture list can be accessed via the link below:

Sat 29 July - Scottish Highland League/ last cycle of League Cup Group Fixtures:

Buckie Thistle v Clachnacuddin
Cove Rangers v Huntly
Deveronvale v Turriff Utd
Formartine Utd v Inverurie Locos
Forres Mechanics v Nairn County
Fraserburgh v Wick Academy
Keith v Fort William
Lossiemouth v Brora Rangers
Rothes v Strathspey Thistle

Buckie dominate awards

The 2016/17 Highland League awards have been announced. They are:

Player of the Year: Kevin Fraser (Buckie)

Manager of the Year: Graeme Stewart (Buckie)

Top Scorer: John McLeod (Buckie)

Young Player of the Year: Harry Milne (Cove)

Fair Play: Buckie Thistle

Huntly transfer list four

Huntly FC have confirmed that four players have been placed on the transfer list.

Utility player Adam Naismith, defenders Sean Webb and Martin MacDonald, and forward Robbie Duncanson have all been made available for transfer after one season at Christie Park.

Interested parties are asked to contact Director of Football Steve Innes on 078676709870.

Hale resigns as Keith manager

Keith are looking for a new manager.

Allan Hale has resigned, along with his coaching staff of Gavin Wemyss, Ewan Robb and Graeme Bain, citing irreconcilable differences.

Elsewhere, Paul MacLellan, Alastair MacPherson and Ali SmithAlly Ewen left Fort William to take over as manager at Lossiemouth. He will be assisted by Kevin Munro.

Paul MacLellan, Alastair MacPherson and Ali Smith are the new management team at Fort William.

Meanwhile, former Nairn youth coach Ally Munro has taken over as manager at Strathspey Thistle.Paul MacLellan, Alastair MacPherson and Ali Smith

Players are on the move as well. Brora have signed Mark Nicholson from Elgin, while James Fraser is moving from Buckie to Rothes.

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Latest Results

15-08-2017 20:00 - IRN-BRU Cup 1st Round North
Buckie Thistle 2 : 1 Brechin City
15-08-2017 19:45 - IRN-BRU Cup 1st Round North
Formartine United 2 : 3 Hearts U20
Raith Rovers 3 : 0 Brora Rangers
Stenhousemuir 0 : 2 Cove Rangers
12-08-2017 15:00 - SHFL Week 3
Inverurie Locos 1 : 2 Cove Rangers
Keith 3 : 5 Forres Mechanics
Nairn County 1 : 1 Clachnacuddin
Formartine United 4 : 4 Deveronvale
Strathspey Thistle 0 : 2 Huntly
Fort William 0 : 4 Brora Rangers
Turriff United 1 : 0 Lossiemouth
Fraserburgh 4 : 2 Rothes
Wick Academy 1 : 5 Buckie Thistle
05-08-2017 15:00 - SHFL Week 2
Lossiemouth 0 : 2 Huntly
Cove Rangers 8 : 0 Fort William

Press and Journal Highland League 2016-17

Rank Teams Played GD Points
1 Buckie Thistle 34 94 82
2 Cove Rangers 34 79 82
3 Brora Rangers 34 80 81
4 Formartine United 34 35 73
5 Fraserburgh 34 29 63
6 Forres Mechanics 34 21 58
7 Turriff United 34 14 58
8 Wick Academy 34 23 53
9 Inverurie Locos 34 18 50
10 Keith 34 -14 47
11 Clachnacuddin 34 -24 41
12 Lossiemouth 34 -18 38
13 Nairn County 34 -17 34
14 Huntly 34 -43 34
15 Deveronvale 34 -24 30
16 Rothes 34 -69 26
17 Fort William 34 -92 11
18 Strathspey Thistle 34 -92 9

Next Matches

19-08-2017 15:00 - SHFL Week 4
Brora Rangers - : - Inverurie Locos
Buckie Thistle - : - Formartine United
Clachnacuddin - : - Wick Academy
Cove Rangers - : - Fraserburgh
Deveronvale - : - Keith
Huntly - : - Fort William
Lossiemouth - : - Strathspey Thistle
Rothes - : - Forres Mechanics
Turriff United - : - Nairn County

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