Highland League are preparing for life with Brechin City
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The Highland League are planning for life with Brechin City from next season.
Brechin’s relegation was confirmed on Sunday, losing 3–1 on aggregate in the pyramid play-off to Brora Rangers’ conquerors Kelty Hearts.
There has long been speculation about what might happen next – with City in the Highland League’s catchment area being north of the River Tay, but the club having expressed a desire to join the Lowland League instead.
Highland League secretary Rod Houston has expressed his sympathy with Brechin’s disappointment, but says they are preparing for the club to join their league in line with the current rules.
“The rules state that in the event of a club north of the Tay being relegated from the SPFL, they join the Highland League, so we’re working on that basis,” he said.
“The bottom line is, the rules state that’s what happens, so we’ll deal with it accordingly.
“Now, if Brechin want to try and do something different, that’s entirely a matter for them. What we’ve got to do is have some sympathy with Brechin.
“I’m sure they’ve woken up on Monday morning feeling terribly flat. That’s quite a harsh experience they’ve gone through, so you’ve got to give them time to lick their wounds.
“Then we’ll deal with it in as sympathetic manner as possible.”
If Brechin do indeed join the Highland League, it will see the division return to 18 teams.
Cove Rangers’ promotion in 2019 left an odd number of sides in the HFL, but while Houston says he would like to see a decision on Brechin’s status made sooner rather than later he believes there would be no problem in adding them to the fold.
“We don’t know quite what the time pattern will be,” Houston said.
“I wouldn’t want it to run too long, because we’re at the stage where a lot of the structural preparation for next season has to be put in place quite quickly. We’ll try and deal with it sympathetically, but we can’t wait forever.
“It’s not a problem for us to go back to 18 teams, there’s no difference whatsoever in terms of scheduling for 17 clubs or 18 clubs.”