Over the last year, the Highland League has had to deal with numerous unprecedented challenges.
Here we get insight and opinion from figures across the division on how the Highland League has coped with and overcome many hurdles during the pandemic.
We cover the decision last March to end the 2019-20 season earlier and declare Brora Rangers champions, to the current shutdown of the Highland League and everything else that’s happened in between.
Across the last 12 months Brora missed out on the chance at promotion, Rothes won the Highland League Cup for the first time in their history, Forres Mechanics opted out of the 2020-21 season – which kicked off in late November with supporters allowed to attend some grounds – seven clubs remain in the Scottish Cup and there have been various managerial changes across the division.
Reflecting on the last year the Highland League’s secretary Rod Houston said: “A lot of time is spent on ‘what ifs?’ and if the season is null and void – which isn’t something that’s on the agenda at this moment – I’ve wondered how I would feel about it.
“People will ask me if it was a waste of time? But my answer would be no because I think the Highland League has come out of it stronger.
“We’ve found organisational processes that we will keep, we had a very successful Highland League Cup which showed us a lot of things.
“Clubs have gone through a very demanding process and I think are strong organisations for it with the whole set of protocols that have been put in place.
“I think the projection of the Highland League right back to the decision-making in March has been very important.
“And I do think we’ve managed to take it on and deal with the challenges in a manner which gives the Highland League the best chance of stepping on when the new normal arrives.”