Highland League clubs worried by promotion, says Brora chairman

Brora Rangers have wrapped up the Highland League with three games to spare
Brora Rangers have wrapped up the Highland League with three games to spare

The vast majority of Highland League clubs are troubled by the prospect of promotion via the new play-off system, according to the champions' chairman.

Brora Rangers will meet Lowland League winners Edinburgh City, with the victors taking on League Two's bottom side for a place in the senior ranks.

"I would think 75% of the clubs have concerns," said Brora's John Young.

"There's probably five or six clubs who have that ambition and they are based in the Aberdeenshire area."

Unbeaten in the league this season, Brora retained the title with a 2-1 victory at nearest challengers Turriff United on Saturday.

Captain Steven MacKay scored both goals to take his tally for the campaign to an incredible 54.

With a population of less than 1,200, Brora is a small community in Sutherland and the prospect of long journeys to the likes of Berwick Rangers and Annan Athletic worry Young.

Founded: 1879
Stadium: Dudgeon Park, capacity 4000
Location: Brora, Sutherland, population 1,140
Manager: Davie Kirkwood
Highland League champions, lead Turriff United by 14 points after 31 games, winning 27 and still unbeaten

"My biggest fear is the financial burden on the club," he explained to BBC Radio Scotland.

"I've been here a long time and I've seen when we were in dire straits how hard it is and I would hate to see us going back into that situation.

"But we have to take part and we'll do our best to get into the SPFL [Scottish Professional Football League].

Founded: 1928 (reformed 1966)
Stadium: Meadowbank Stadium, capacity 16,500
Location: Edinburgh, Lothian, population 487,500
Manager: Gary Jardine
Lowland League champions, 13 points ahead of Gretna 2008 with three games in hand, winning 17 and unbeaten after 19 games

"We have a few seasoned players who had played at the higher level and got sick of all the travelling, so they came into the Highland League to enjoy their football and get home at a reasonable time.

"One or two of the younger players are not too enthusiastic either. But the type of players we have, we will certainly be trying our best to progress.

"In terms of finance, it's been very vague so far, but we are hoping to get clarification on how much we'll get for playing at the next level - and our sponsor has told us he will back us to the hilt, no matter where we are playing."

Montrose currently occupy last place in the SPFL standings, with the Links Park side 11 points behind Clyde.

Brora won 3-2 at Edinburgh City in November to reach the fourth round of the Scottish Cup, where they lost out 4-1 to Queen of the South.

The Highland League champions also knocked League One Stenhousemuir out of the Petrofac Training Cup with a 3-1 win in July, before a 3-2 home defeat to East Fife.

Brora Rangers manager Davie Kirkwood
Brora Rangers are managed by former Airdrie and Raith Rovers midfielder Davie Kirkwood

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