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North Caley president Iain Whitehead believes league is becoming more competitive as clubs up professionalism levels


By Andrew Henderson

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The North Caledonian League is as competitive as it has ever been, according to NCL president Iain Whitehead.

Last season’s title race went down to the last couple of matches of the campaign as Invergordon, Loch Ness and Halkirk United chased the North Caley crown.

There was also a battle at the bottom of the standings though, with every team in the division winning at least three matches.

St Duthus tasted success in the cup last season, but will be looking to finish higher up the league table next year. Picture: James Mackenzie
St Duthus tasted success in the cup last season, but will be looking to finish higher up the league table next year. Picture: James Mackenzie

That, believes Whitehead, is a key difference in the competition now compared to years gone by, with clubs across the board taking a more professional approach which in turn is leading to better competition.

“Teams are very competitive now, and I think we saw that last season,” Whitehead reasoned.

“There wasn’t that team at the bottom of the league with no wins, so it’s better now.

“I think what has happened is that people are more invested in it.

“Teams at the bottom are training every week, so they’re improving their squad of players.

“Things like that make a difference. Before it was just the two or three teams at the top who did that, and the other teams were just turning up on a Saturday for matches.

“At our level, you get found out doing that.

“Everyone is invested in the teams we have right now, and they are training every week, so it has improved the standard – more so at the bottom end of the table I’d say.

“Everybody’s capable of taking points off one another now, which makes for a competitive league, and that can only be a good thing.”

Things may be about to get even more competitive next season as the league looks set to expand.

Although nothing has been ratified as yet, Clachnacuddin have already signalled their intention to enter a reserve team.

It also looks likely that Fort William will return to the North Caley ranks after relegation from the Highland League.


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